Posts Tagged ‘Maya’

Magical Earth Defenders Pt. 10

August 5, 2017

The girls looked around the alleyway and saw that suddenly the whole place was clear of any damage or debris from the brief fight. They walked around as if to make sure and then there was the sound of a siren and all the girls froze. In the chaos, they had not thought about the authorities.

“The police!” Natia said, her voice a little louder than it should have been with her sudden nervousness.

“How were we supposed to get back?” Maya asked.

“Arafina, we need to return now, please,” Margaret said softly. The ground around them started to glow with a soft light. The cops rounded the corner, there were two of them.

“Who are you?” One of the cops asked.

“We’re the Defenders,” Kelsey said. “We’re here to save the world.” She posed heroically for effect.

As soon as the words left her mouth, the girls were suddenly back in the castle courtyard. They adjusted to the sudden change of scenery for a moment. Margaret in particular thought she felt nauseous for a moment but it passed. Arafina walked up to them an expectant look on her face.

“So,” She said. “I gather it went well?”

“The police saw us!” Natia shouted.

“Calm down, Natia,” Kelsey said.

“She has a point,” Lennon said. “What if they recognize us around town?”

“That’s not possible,” Arafina said. “The magic of the transformation charms hides your identities to protect your loved ones.”

Natia waved her hand over her face. “We don’t have masks.”

“And you do not need them, your faces will appear differently to outsiders magically,” Arafina said.

“Well, that’s comforting,” Margaret said. All of the girls nodded and vocalized their agreement.

“I’m finally a superhero,” Natia said. “It’s about time.”

“To answer your earlier question,” Kelsey said. “We demolished all of our targets and we met one of the things pulling the strings of those monsters. It did not give us its name.”

“It looked like a clown, though,” Maya said.

“A clown?” Arafina asked.

“Big nose. Exaggerated features. Goofy.” Lennon said, closing her eyes to picture the thing.

Maya waved her hand and a large hand bag appeared out of thin air. She rummaged through it and pulled out a pencil and a pad of paper and started to sketch. After a few moments, she had a pretty good drawing of what the clown had looked like. She held it up for everyone to see.

“Like this, right?” She asked.

“Exactly!” Kelsey said.

“Oh dear,” Arafina said. “He was at the vanguard of the invasion of my world. If he is showing his face, so to speak, then the true invasion is not too far off.”

“How far off?” Lennon asked. “I mean, I know that there are a lot of variables but how long do you think?”

“I am not sure but no more than one year,” Arafina said. “Of course, they will now want to eliminate you before they make true landfall. You are the cog in their machine.”

“Good,” Kelsey said. “We worked really well together today. We can only get better.”

“Wait,” Margaret said. “Who put you in charge?”

“I must have missed that vote before I officially joined the team,” Maya said. She put her sketch book away.

Kelsey shrugged. “I’m used to it. I am the lacrosse team captain back at school.”

“I’m fine with it,” Maya said with a shrug of her own. “I do say that we should each get a voice on this team.”

“I agree,” Margaret said. “We vote on important things and we should talk to each other.”

“Communication is key,” Lennon said.

“Good because I can’t keep my mouth shut sometimes,” Natia said. Everybody laughed.

“Right,” Kelsey said. “And I’m going to rely on your skills to help me help you. Lennon, you have the fire and the brains. Natia, you’ll bring the noise and the creativity. Margaret, we need your light and your strength. Maya, lend us your shadows and your magic. We’ll learn from each other.” They all nodded at that.

“Speaking of learning,” Lennon said. “We have a lot of studying to do to figure all of this out.”

“True,” Kelsey said. “and speaking of studying, Natia you have to come back to school with us.”

“Wait, what?” Natia asked. “I don’t really want to.”

“You’re our teammate now,” Kelsey said. “We have to look out for each other and it’s best if we stay close.”

Before Natia could object again, Maya spoke up. “No, that’s a good idea. Things are about to get crazy for us. Embracing normal as much as possible will help us, right?”

“I’m glad you said that,” Kelsey said. “You’re coming to school with us too.”

“But, I don’t have anywhere to live,” Maya said.

“You can live here,” Arafina said. “There is plenty of space and I can transport you to school in the morning.” Maya nodded, the witchy, gothic girl suddenly looking even paler than usual.

“What about you, Margaret?” Kelsey asked. “What’s your story?”

“My name is Margaret Washington and go to <> Academy.”

“Ooh, very fancy, Washi,” Natia said. “I guess you’re covered.”

“Wait,” Lennon said. “You’re part of that Washington family?”

“Yes,” Margaret said. “I don’t like making a big deal of it. I love my family and I’m proud of them, though.”

“It’s cool,” Kelsey said. “You seem like a good person to me.”

“I try,” Margaret said with a smile.

Natia yawned. “Is it safe to go home now? I’m tired.”

“Yes,” Arafina said. “Your charms will now protect you from being tracked. They will also transport you back and forth from this castle. You are free to go, of course.”

“And we’ll see each other in the morning,” Kelsey said. “Let’s get some rest, we’ll need it.”

They all focused on their charms and they transformed again. This time it was just a simple flash of light and they were back to their street clothes. Lennon landed in her wheelchair and she looked disappointed for a moment but much happier than she had that morning. The forms of Kelsey, Lennon, and Natia flickered and disappeared. Margaret turned toward Maya with a smile.

“If you need anything, I’ll be happy to help you out,” Margaret said. “I know you’ve had a really rough time of it.”

“Thank you,” Maya said. “I’m OK for now though.”

Margaret nodded and smiled. “See you tomorrow.”

“See you tomorrow,” Maya said. Margaret’s form flickered and disappeared.

“Now, let’s get you fed and pick you a bedroom,” Arafina said. “Follow me.” Maya followed her into the castle.

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Magical Earth Defenders Pt. 9

July 29, 2017

Curtains

The five teenage girls appeared back in the alleyway they had disappeared from, now in their brand new armor. When they looked at each other, they could all see the same nervous excitement in each other’s eyes. They were supposed to be Earth’s new super heroes but they were new at this and there was no telling what would happen. Kelsey stepped forward first.

“Come on, we have some streets to clean up, girls!” She shouted.

They took off in a run because they could not stand to walk and running felt so good. Each one of them felt much faster and more energetic than they ever had before. Especially Lennon who felt an exhilaration in running much faster than her wheelchair could ever go. At some point, Maya took the lead since she was the only one of them present at the scene of the crime and Kelsey slowed a little to let her have the lead. They skidded to a stop in the alleyway.

“They were right here!” Maya yelled.

They looked around and there was nothing there, not even scorch marks. Of course, there were also no bystanders around either. They were probably startled by the craziness that had ensued earlier, running off to see who would believe them. However, in the very center of this alleyway was a dog-eared copy of a script.

“Look at this,” Lennon said and bent down to pick the script up.

“Did your friend drop it?” Margaret asked.

“Yeah, I mean, we weren’t exactly friends anymore but we used to live next to each other,” Kelsey said. “She got into drama big time after her family moved.”

“I remember seeing her in shows,” Lennon said and shivered. “She looked happy up there.”

“I remember that too, actually,” Natia said. She did not remember as much from the previous year but she did remember any excuse not to go to class and Daffney had been in drama previews during assembly.

“They left it behind deliberately,” Maya said angrily. The other girls nodded.

“There’s something written across this page,” Lennon said and she held up the script so they could all see. The word “CURTAINS” was written in jagged pink letters across the page. Lennon could have sworn the word had not been there when she picked the script up.

“Curtains?” Margaret asked. “What does that mean?”

“It means it’s curtains for you, little girls!” A disembodied voice yelled out.

“What? Who said that?” Natia asked as all of the girls looked around.

“Show yourself!” Kelsey yelled.

On the wall near them, a face started to form on the brick. It was wicked looking, sort of a cruel parody of a clown. It grinned wickedly with far too many teeth and everybody gasped.

“Not yet,” the thing said. “We are not ready to step into your world.”

“Cowards,” Margaret said, her eyes narrowed.

“What did you say!?” The thing yelled, seemingly shocked by the words.

“She’s right,” Maya said. “You are a coward. I know what that’s like but I am done running.”

“We all are!” Natia shouted, slinging her guitar off of her shoulder.

“Well good for you,” the wall thing said sarcastically. “Very well, let’s play!”

Monsters began to form from the brick walls and the blacktop once again. The girls backed off a bit, making space to fight. The things were slow to form. Kelsey started calling out targets and nobody argued.

“Aqua Shot!” Kelsey called out. She focused on her hand and thought of playing softball with Daffney and the other neighborhood kids when she was little. She felt a large amount of water form and she threw it as hard as she could. She watched the water slam into one of the constructs. It tried to stand for a moment, putting its hand first into the water but the impact knocked it back into the wall where the thing shattered on impact. The girls cheered.

“Sonic Rush!” Natia called out. She thought of the thrill of performing and her love of being loud and strummed her guitar hard. Green waves and a rush of sound rocketed out of the guitar and slammed into one of the constructs. It started to panic as its body vibrated, it fell to its knees as it fell apart. Natia strummed on her guitar for good measure.

“Inferno Rocket!” Lennon called out. She raised her hand and pointed her palm at one of the constructs. She focused on all of the weekends she had spent building model rockets in her family’s garage and firing them off with her dad. She poured all of the flames of her anger, her disappointment, and her desire to destroy all of the obstacles in her way into that rocket. She let the thing fly and a burning fireball shot into one of the constructs.

“Shadow Chain!” Maya called out. She closed her eyes and thought of all the dark corners she had hidden in, the darkness she had embraced to survive and she let it out. She felt it form itself into a chain made of solid shadow. She felt that chain snake around her body, floating through the air. She opened her eyes and pointed at one of the constructs and the chain shot out towards it, it wound around the construct and then Maya squeezed her hand and the chain constricted and the thing was crushed into pieces.

“Bright Arrow!” Margaret called out. She remembered all of the archery lessons her parents had bought her since it was such a noble sport. She reached behind her back and pulled an arrow made of light from thin air. In her other hand, a bow made of light formed and she strung the bow, drew it back and there was a bright flash as she let the arrow go. It streamed toward the last construct and pierced right through it. It came out of the other side of the construct and hit the wall, right in the middle of the clown face. It frowned and faded away just as the construct exploded in a shower of sparks.

Magical Earth Defenders Pt. 8

July 22, 2017

The Team

It was too late, Maya had already invoked the charm and whatever happened would happen. The charm did not glow and no light enveloped Maya but instead, the charm seemed to absorb nearby light and the marks on Maya’s body seemed to get darker. Her shadow under her grew and stretched around her on the ground until it was a perfect square with her in the middle. At that point, the square started to grow off of the ground into a shadow cube around Maya. Maya was worried at this point because Arafina had seemed scared. The girls had rushed the cube but they could not reach in and get her as the shadows actively pushed them away.

Inside the cube, Maya watched as Arafina and the girls faded into darkness. It was so dark inside the cube and soundless but she felt that darkness moving around her, changing her. For so long the darkness had been a tool and an ally but she had worried about the toll it might be taking on her soul. She felt her dirty clothes change and she was eager to see what was happening now that she realized she was not getting ripped apart. As the cube faded away, she stood in a mix between a long black dress and leather armor. The dress part had a slit in it to allow her movement. She looked down and noticed that the runes on her body that she could see had changed.

Kelsie put a hand on her shoulder. “Are you alright?”

Maya looked up from studying her arms, a bewildered look in her eyes. “What happened to me?”

“It looks like you’re one of us, after all,” Lennon said. The other girls vocalized their agreement at once.

“What?” Maya asked. “I thought I corrupted the charm when I took it from your friend.”

“It seems the opposite has happened,” Arafina said. “The charm has become the source of your power and has scrubbed away the darkness in your soul. It seems that somebody who has walked through the darkness and could still think of other people is worthy to be on this team. I was wrong for judging you.”

Maya shook her head and smiled. “I have no grudge,” She said. “I have a clean slate and for the first time in a long time my heart feels lighter.”

Kelsie was the closest so she was the first one to hug Maya. “You couldn’t have saved Daffney,” she added which made Maya tear up. The other girls moved to hug her too at that, Natia being especially enthusiastic about it. Maya was caught off guard but soon found herself hugging back. She had needed this. She had almost forgotten what a hug felt like and she savored such positive human contact. There was a long silence as a breeze blew across the courtyard and Arafina watched her team bond.

As they broke away, Kelsie walked over to Arafina and stroked her head. Arafina forgot herself for a moment and purred and then looked confused. Kelsie quickly withdrew her hand and ran it through her own blue-streaked hair awkwardly.

“Sorry,” Kelsie said. “I just wanted you to be included but I forgot that you’re not really a pet.”

“It’s alright,” Arafina said. “Thank you for the sentiment. It has been an adjustment.” She sighed.

“I can’t imagine it’s been easy,” Lennon said. After all, she knew all about living with limitations and that was not forgotten in five minutes of walking around again.

“It has not,” Arafina said adding a tiny nod. This was obviously a sore subject and everyone could sense that. Arafina spoke up to try to defuse the tension. “At least I still have my spells and I can still open books with my paws. It does take time. It is hard to write with a pen in my teeth…”

“I could help with that,” Lennon said. “I would love to learn this stuff.”

“So would I, actually,” Maya said. “I need to learn about your system of magic and how this charm changed me.”

“We can study together,” Lennon said with a smile. Few of her friends had ever been interested in that.

“We all need to do some studying,” Margaret said. “We’re far too ignorant to tackle the challenge ahead.”

“I hate studying,” Natia said, plucking gently at the strings of her guitar.

“Suck it up, buttercup!” Kelsie said with a smile and Natia sighed but could not help but smile. “

“So, back to our magical powers,” Margaret said. “How do they work?”

“Well, obviously we have some control over a classic element or basic physical force that we can use offensively,” Lennon said.

“Obviously,” Margaret said.

“Yes,” Arafina said. “Lennon has fire, Margaret has light, Kelsie has water, Natia has sound and Maya has Darkness. The use of these powers was meant to be left up to the charm wielder. Use your experiences and visualize your attacks as something you know how to manage. Form the attack with your mind and words and then let loose.”

“Something we can manage like my guitar?” Natia asked.

“Yes,” Arafina said. “I suppose you subconsciously adapted to that mechanic ahead of instruction.”

“Here that?” Natia said with a grin. “I’m advanced! I’ve never been advanced.”

“You still have to study,” Kelsie said.

“Crap!” Natia said and folded her arms. Everybody laughed and after a moment Natia joined in too.

“We should go back down there and test these new powers out on those things that killed your friend, Daffney,” Maya said.

“Wait,” Margaret said. “Should we be going down to confront these things without practicing?”

“Actually, those beings are the weakest of what you might be facing,” Arafina said. “It would be a good test of your powers but it is not without danger.”

“Sometimes you just have to get your hands dirty,” Lennon said.

“Let’s watch each others’ backs, Defenders,” Kelsie said. “Right?”

“Right!” They all answered. They were a new to being a team but Daffney had been somebody half the team knew and it was the right thing to do to eliminate the danger if it was still there.

Magical Earth Defenders Pt. 7

July 15, 2017

Transformation

“I’ll go first,” Margaret said. She took a few steps away from the group. None of them knew what to suspect so it was better to be cautious when unleashing these new magical powers.

“Why do you get to go first?” Natia asked.

“I don’t have to,” Margaret said. “I just thought if anybody was nervous I would go first.”

“We’re all nervous, or at least I am,” Lennon said.

“I’m going first,” Kelsie said with force.

“Why you?” Natia asked.

“Because I am,” Kelsie said with a smile and a wink. “Deal with it.” She stepped out to where Margaret was and Margaret rejoined the group. Kelsie was used to being the leader and it showed. She did not mean anything by it and that came out in her forceful yet excited tone.

“How does this work, Arafina?” Lennon asked. They all looked down at their de facto advisor, a talking furry animal.

Arafina dragged a paw across her face, smoothing a bit of fur. I guess if you spent enough time transformed into something close to a cat, you start to take on animal behavior. “Simply raise the charm high and call out ‘Magical Defender Transform” and surrender yourself to the magical energies. The charm will do the rest.”

“Ok, here goes,” Kelsie said as she raised the charm over her head. “Magical Defender Transform!” Her shout seemed to transcend a simple human shout, almost as if it was amplified by a microphone. The charm lit up with a bright blue light that spread over her body. In a flash, a geyser of water shot out of the charm and then snaked around and surrounded Kelsie in what looked like a bubble of water. It hid her from sight.

Inside the bubble, Kelsie struggled for a half a moment before remembering that she was supposed to trust the magic. She stayed in place as the water swirled around her. A few moments later and the water bubble popped, sending a mist of water spraying everywhere but curiously nothing got wet. Kelsie was standing there in what looked like blue leather armor with a flourish that looked like a skirt. She smiled and looked down at herself. “Refreshing!” She said.

The other girls oohed and aahed and clapped. “Well done!” Arafina said. “The power of water is yours to command. Next?”

Natia ran over and high-fived Kelsie. “Me next!” She waited until Kelsie was clear and then called out “Magical Defender Transform!” as she held up her charm. Again, it was louder than any human could shout, even a noisy girl like Natia. The charm lit up with a green light that spread over her body. Suddenly, there was a roar of sound around her that mixed with the green light and made her extremely blurry to the girls.

Natia was excited as the transformation took place. The bass of the sound waves rattled her body but it did not hurt, it felt great. Suddenly, her brother’s guitar appeared in front of her and she reached out and grabbed it. As she did, the sound waves and the green light fell away. She was standing there in what looked like a mix between punk rock gear and armor. The guitar had transformed into a sturdier thing and Natia hugged it in excitement. “Rock on!” She shouted.

“What?!” Arafina shouted. “Where did that guitar come from?”

“I rarely go anywhere without it,” Natia said with a shrug and stepped back towards the group, admiring her new gear.

“I’ll go now,” Margaret said as she stepped out to the exact spot the other two had stood to transform. “Magical Defender Transform!” It was an even more authoritative shout than the usual Washington tone. She held the charm aloft and hers shone with a bright white light. The light flashed and shone and the girls had to look away.

Inside, Margaret found the light pleasing. She felt it reach the core of her being and it was just what she had needed, the power to change the world. She found herself smiling for the first time in what felt like a long time like she was basking in the sunshine. She surrendered to that feeling and when the light fell away she was wearing a white feathered dress complete with wings protruding from her back. She smiled and found herself posing. “Wow!” She said and hurried over to the others.

“You were supposed to have Natia’s power, the power of sound,” Arafina said. “Lennon was supposed to have your power of light. I can only assume that Lennon has the power of -“

“Spoilers!” Natia shouted.

Lennon rolled away from the group. “I guess, I am next.” She took a deep breath and looked down at her wheelchair, not expecting much. “Magical Defender Transform!” She shouted. The sound was the loudest thing that ever came out of the mousy scholar. Immediately a red light emanated from her charm and it stretched over her body and the wheelchair. When the glow had touched everything, flames erupted from everywhere. The flames hid Lennon from sight and the girls instinctually moved to save her but Arafina cut them off and they were reminded that this sort of thing was supposed to happen.

Inside the flames, Lennon felt warm and light. She actually thought that feeling might be touching the parts of her that had been so depressed since she had been confined to the wheelchair. Wait, where was the wheelchair? She realized she was floating in the flames but she felt at peace with that. She knew she would land in her chair. The fire disappeared and she did not land on the chair. She landed gently on her own two feet. She looked down and saw a pair of giant metal braces on her legs and red armor on her body. Happy tears rolled down her cheeks and Kelsie was there to give her a hug. There was a long silence as everybody appreciated what had just happened.

“While transformed, the braces will allow you to walk, run, jump and perform athletic feats,” Arafina said. “When you transform back, you must return to the wheelchair. I cannot cure your medical condition.”

Lennon was smiling, really smiling. “I understand. Neither can the doctors. One day I’ll solve it.”

“I trust you will,” Arafina said. “In the meantime, enjoy the limited mobility.”

While everyone was distracted, Maya stepped forward and shouted. “Magical Defender Transform!”

“No!” Arafina shouted.

Magical Earth Defenders Pt. 6

July 8, 2017

The Castle

The five teenagers suddenly found themselves in the courtyard of a small castle on the top of a mountain. It did not look like it had been built there. It looked kind of like the castle had half-landed and half-crashed into the top of the mountain, the rocks beneath the castle fusing with the surface of the mountain. Of course, this could not have been what happened. That would have required the castle to have been in flight at some point. Castles do not fly. One by one, the girls dismissed the thought and looked around. The stonework looked like a lot of castles but there was something alien about the architecture as well. It was hard to put a finger on it.

“Where are we?” Margaret asked, looking for the thing that was not a cat and finding it still in Maya’s arms. It hopped down to the ground and shook itself and then looked around as if danger might come at any moment. No danger came.

“This is all that is left of my world,” The thing that was not a cat said. “This place and myself.” Suddenly, the castle felt a lot smaller than it had before.

“A whole world?” Natia asked. The thought was terrifying.

“What world was this?” Lennon asked. “Who are you?”

“I second that line of questioning,” Margaret said. “We have no idea what is going on.”

“Guys!” Kelsie yelled. “Give her a chance to get a word in edgewise. Wait, you are a ‘her’ right?” They all turned towards the thing that was not a cat and waited.

The thing cleared its throat. “Yes. My name is Arafina and I once walked on two feet like you do.” Arafina glanced at Lennon in her wheelchair. “I mean… sorry.”

“It’s ok,” Lennon said. “I’m dealing with it and you didn’t mean anything by it.”

Arafina nodded. “I lived in a world we called Galladalia. I was a librarian and tutor for the royal family. This is their winter castle, formerly near the warm shores of the Cammon Sea. I spent many happy days here playing and teaching the three princesses. Linella, Graja, and Ponena were my charges but I was also an informal advisor to the royal family on magic and other academic matters.”

“I can guess what happened,” Maya said. Her face was sad for Arafina.

Arafina nodded. “The Dark Covenant invaded our world through a dimensional breach. Their attack was brutal and we worked on countermeasures to repel them or maybe even destroy them. We were forced to retreat to this castle where we prepared powerful magical charms. Charms you now hold. We worked to select champions to wield the new weapons but time ran out. They found us. They destroyed the royal family and corrupted many of the guards, killing the rest. I completed a spell at that last moment that repelled them from this castle and propelled it to a new world. As I looked behind, I saw that they had enveloped our world. It was lost.”

“Oh wow,” Kelsie said. “That’s horrible.” She shivered.

“So why are you kind of a cat?” Kelsie asked.

“My guess is that passing through the dimensional barrier may cause biological anomalies,” Arafina said. “Specifically, it put me in the body of a Haren which is a pet back on Galladalia. It is a little embarrassing but it has allowed me to operate secretly and learn a bit about this world.”

“So why are the Dark Covenant here now?” Lennon asked.

“Did they follow you?” Margaret asked. Everybody looked at her and she shrugged. “I’m not blaming anyone here.”

“No,” Maya said. “They have been chasing me for years. They killed my parents.”

Arafina eyed Maya with surprise. “I am sorry for your loss. It was good fortune that I arrived in this world then and with weapons ready to combat the menace. There is hope still for your world but I need you four to fight.”

“Four?” Lennon asked. “There are five of us. You came to me, you said I was chosen.” Kelsie, Natia, and Margaret each voiced agreement with that situation.

“But I was not chosen, right?” Maya asked. “Do you want your charm back?” She held up the charm and they all saw that the crystal, which was colored in the other four, was jet black.

“The magical gem has gone dark,” Arafina said. “I am not sure if it will still work the same. That charm was intended for somebody else. Daffney.” Arafina and Maya exchanged a sad look.

“But she’s gone now,” Maya said.

“Daffney is dead?” Kelsie asked, shocked. “I know her from school.”

“Me too,” Lennon said.

Natia just shuffled her feet. She had skipped too much to form too many attachments at school. She did recognize Lennon from school which meant she must have been assigned to the same school as the three of them. She felt bad that she did not feel so bad.

“She didn’t have much of a chance,” Maya said. “They attacked us quickly. I barely got out with Arafina.”

“Yes,” Arafina said. “Thank you for rescuing me.”

“You’re welcome,” Maya said with a small smile.

“So what now?” Natia asked.

“How do these work?” Lennon asked, holding up her charm.

“Wait,” Natia said. “Do we really want to fight monsters that already killed people?”

“I do,” Margaret said. “If not us, then who?” The girls all thought about that for a moment.

“She’s right,” Kelsie said. “Besides, I can’t stand aside and let other people die when I could have helped.”

“I want to help save the world,” Lennon said. “I want to do everything I can to help make it a better place.”

“Ok ok,” Natia said. “You have a point. If we use these charms, we’ll be safer right?”

“There will still be danger but at least you will have a fighting chance,” Arafina said. “That is more than I can say for the average human. Magic is the best weapon we have against these monsters.”

“We’ll do it,” Margaret said. The others voiced their agreement.

“So how do they work?” Natia asked. She was starting to get excited about being a hero.

“I guess there’s not a manual, huh?” Kelsie asked.

“It would be nice if that were the case,” Lennon said.

“Those charms will allow you to transform to your super-powered self. This will also give you magical clothes and allow you to tap into magical powers.”

Natia smiled. “Magic powers? Cool.”

One of Lennon’s eyebrows rose. “I am a girl of science. Usually, I would be more skeptical of ‘magic’ but I suppose I have seen enough evidence to accept the new reality. I would like to see these charms in action.”

“I think it is about time we tested them out,” Margaret said. “We don’t want to be caught off guard.”

“Being prepared for battle is the only way to be,” Kelsie said.

“Agreed,” Lennon said. “We are going to have to start getting out hands dirty, I guess.”

“You had me at ‘let’s test out our superpowers’. Let’s do it!” Natia shouted.

Magical Earth Defenders Pt. 5

June 17, 2017

The Star and the Shadow

Daff was so hyped to be heading to auditions for the Spring Musical. She had been in every school show since she was old enough to try out. However, this was the first year that she felt that she could actually get the lead. She enjoyed being in the ensemble. She enjoyed the costumes, the energy, and the camaraderie. However, she felt like she had paid her dues and it was her time to shine. She really wanted to shine.

She had wanted to be a star since she was old enough to walk. She wanted to be the one out in front in the lights and maybe even that white hot spotlight. She wanted people to look up to her like she had looked up to the stars before her. It was the cycle that show business was built on. She wanted to be part of that business for real so badly. Experience here might serve her well in the future or she might even get seen by the right people and secure her future. The possibilities were thrilling and they fed her excitement and confidence that she would pour into her audition.

Suddenly, she tripped over something. She recovered her balance at the last moment and looked around. A thing that was not a cat had been in her path.

“Hey!” Daff yelled. “You almost made me fall! I could have been hurt, you need to watch where you’re going. Oh God, I’m yelling at a cat.”

The thing looked up at her. “Daffney Sinclair, there is little time but I do apologize. We need to meet with the others. Time is short.”

“What?” Daff said. “You have to explain.”

“There is no time, Daffney. Take this charm and follow me!” The thing yelled. A charm flew through the air toward Daffney. She caught the charm in midair. It was some sort of metal with an orange crystal in the center of it. She tried to argue but it was pretty and the cat thing was gone. She needed to find it and fast.

* * *

Maya ran as fast as she could through the city streets. She knew her appearance startled all of the people she passed. Runes from various cultures decorated much of her skin in inky black. However, it was not ink. It was concentrated dark energy. It had been the only way to hide and protect herself from the strange invaders that were chasing her. It was the only way to fight back. The use of dark magic had turned her hair oily black and her skin chalky white. She looked like something out of a Japanese horror movie. She had been on the run for so long but now they were finally catching up.

She had only a little idea who they were. She knew they were called the Dark Covenant and that they controlled terrible magicks but that was about it. They had killed Maya’s parents right before her eyes. An old witch had come from nowhere and rescued Maya and took her on as an apprentice. She learned spells and runes but Maya fled when she learned of the dark nature of the spells she was learning. She did not want to fall into the darkness, even if it meant saving her life and avenging her parents.

She was on her own for the first time in her life. She drifted from place to place. When there was danger, she ran. A few days ago, she had felt the pull to come here to Drake City. She had gone immediately. She had never been there before and it was a long way from her homeland but something about it felt right. Maybe her journey could finally be over. Somehow, the creatures had made it there first and that dream was in danger again.

Maya rounded the corner and ran right into a girl her age. As they both fell to the ground, Maya saw a glittering orange charm clatter to the pavement. All around them, the brick walls and blacktop formed humanoid shapes. These newly formed monsters surrounded the two young girls. Maya was instantly back on her feet, her runes pulsing with power.

“Get behind me!” Maya yelled out.

Before the other girl could move, one of the brick monsters held up its hand. What could only be described as pink flame shot out and hit the other girl. With an unearthly shriek, the girl fell back to the pavement. She was not moving but she was still burning with those strange pink flames.

“No!” Maya cried out. The brick monster turned to her but she poured will into a collection of runes on her wrist and she teleported before the pink flame could touch her. Unfortunately, the spell did not work for long distance so she was only just outside the circle of monsters. A thing that was not a cat came running from the alley. It stopped cold when it saw the burning body.

“Daffney! No, I was too late,” The thing said with a yowl. Maya reached down and picked up the charm that Daffney had dropped. She held it in her hand and watched the crystal turn black. The cat thing yowled again. “No! That’s not for you! Drop it!”

“What the hell are you?” Maya yelled. Everything was happening so fast. It was hard to concentrate on the danger when confronted with a talking animal.

“It’s too late! Bring the charm with us! Run!” The thing yelled. Maya chased after it, out of the alleyway. She needed answers. For the first time since this whole thing had begun, there was somebody besides that awful witch who might know about these monsters. The two of them sprinted down the street. Thankfully, the monsters seemed to be as slow as you would expect brick and blacktop monsters would be. Pink flame shot out of the alleyway behind them but it came just short, missing them both. Maya heard the screams of bystanders on the street. She started to turn back.

“No!” The cat thing yelled. “We can’t help them like this. I want to help them too but we need assistance first.”

“Like this? Like what?” Maya yelled back. Everything made less sense than usual.

“Run!” The cat thing commanded and Maya shut up and ran harder, feeling her own darkness pushing her forward faster. She scooped up the cat thing and kept running. “Turn right ahead!” It yelled out.

Maya hung a right and nearly ran into four startled girls, one of them in a wheelchair. The thing called something out into the gathering twilight that Maya did not hear clearly. There was a flash of light and then all of them were gone from the streets of Drake City.

Shield of the Ishim Pt. 8

June 11, 2016

Ishim Shield

The three of them walked into the cave slowly and carefully. China Gray was first, Maya came second and then Ivy took up the rear. Ivy had her guitar at the ready, down off of her shoulder. As much as Maya was curious to see the guitar’s magic, she did not want any trouble in the cave. Maya pulled a ball of dirt and hay out of her bag. She held it in her palm and blew on it. It floated into the air and ignited and started to float above them as they walked.

“That’s a neat trick, Maya,” Ivy said. She plucked one string on her guitar and an impossibly deep note sounded into the darkness ahead. Ivy paused and listened but eventually started walking behind China and Maya.

“It’s the first trick I ever learned. You need fire out there in the wild if you’re going to survive.” Maya said. It was simple to hold the burning flame high above their heads. Maya could do it almost without a thought which was good because she was nervous about keeping her footing.

“Fire is your specialty, huh?” China asked. She was walking almost at the front edge of the pool of light they were in.

“Fire makes me feel alive. Flame and light have always been easier for me to control. So yes, I guess I would call it my specialty.” Maya said with a smile. The stone beneath their feet was so smooth. It was as if millions of people had walked the path they were walking over years and years. However, it was so dark that Maya felt that most people would turn back almost immediately. Still, the three of them plodded onward for what felt like an hour.

“Are we ever going to get there, do you think?” China asked.

“This is unknown territory, Sis. Your guess is as good as mine.” Ivy said.

“Well, what did your guitar say?” China asked.

“Your guitar?” Maya asked. “Does your guitar talk now?” She looked over her shoulder at Ivy for half a moment.

“Magical sonar,” Ivy said. It was obviously a quick explanation but it felt sufficient to Maya. “My guitar didn’t say much which means it could be miles and miles.”

“How far do you think we’ve gone already?” China asked, almost groaning the words out in her impatience.

“About two miles already,” Maya said. She had gotten good at estimating distances out in the wild since Coyote had sent her here and there on errands. “So, just the beginning of our little hike.” Maya smiled but she could almost feel China frown ahead of her.

“I just wish they would stop jerking us around. Ow!” They all stopped, surprised at China’s startled and pained cry. Ivy grabbed her sister and quickly made sure she was alright as China try to push her away, promising she was alright. Maya pushed the flame forward and illuminated a set of polished silver doors. As the light touched the doors, they opened and a strong wind extinguished Maya’s little flame. That was alright because light poured out from the doorway, lighting the three astonished young women.

Beyond the doors was a stylish lobby all done up in black marble with silver accents everywhere. They walked into the lobby and the doors shut firmly behind them. All three were completely out of their element. The council was always shrouded in so much mystery. Maya supposed she had always thought they would preside over something a bit more mysterious. Perhaps it would have some torches and rough-hewn stone.

“Wait, what’s going on? Is this it?” China asked.

“I don’t know. It’s not what I expected.” Maya said.

“Frankly, the feeling is mutual,” Ivy said.

A marble wall opened, revealing a woman standing behind a marble counter. She was wearing a vaguely Italian-style masquerade mask and her green hair was pulled back severely.

“Welcome, my name is Enigma. The Council is waiting for you in chambers.” The woman said with a polite, professional smile.

“Well, I guess that answers that,” Ivy said. “Thank you, Miss Enigma. Just point us in the right direction and we are at your service.” She continued, shouldering her guitar again so it was safely behind her back. China and Maya nodded in the affirmative.

“Please follow the path. There is a bathroom along the way to refresh yourself. I suggest you drink some water. The Council can get long-winded and they encourage you to join in.” Enigma said.

“Wait, what path?” China asked.

Enigma thrust her palm dramatically at the wall to their left and it slowly opened to reveal a hallway. “Good luck,” Enigma said and this time, the smile was a little more genuine.

“Thank you,” Maya said and bowed her head slightly.

“Yes, Thank you,” Ivy said. “Come along, ladies. We’re expected and there isn’t time to dawdle.”

The three of them down the hallway. The entrance slid closed behind them with an eerily soft but ominous thud. They were in the headquarters of their order. It was home to some of the most cunning and powerful beings on Earth. Intimidating did not even begin to cover it.

Maya definitely had to go to the bathroom. Between all of the travel and her nerves being on edge, she really had to go. As she sat on the toilet, she went over the story in her head. She knew she could not leave all of the talking to the Council and China. She had to do Coyote proud. She had worked hard to join the Ishim and she would never back down now that she was part of it all. She splashed some water on her face and stepped back into the hall to meet her new friends. It was time to get down to business.

Shield of the Ishim 7

April 11, 2016

Ishim Shield

Maya woke up on her unsteady feet and suddenly rubbing her eyes. She had no idea where they were but the sisters were standing there too. Luckily their bags had also arrived. Maya leaned down and picked up her messenger bag and hugged it tight before slinging the strap over her shoulder. The weight was about right but she would have to check it when they were not out in the open.

Everybody was shivering a little and Maya still had no idea where they were. She realized they were on the side of a dirt road bordered on both sides by forest in what looked like the middle of nowhere. There was an old truck rattling down the road maybe a mile away. Maybe that was the vehicle that dropped them off. It was hard to tell how long they had been standing there. It was hard to tell how they had been standing there while they were unconscious.

“Where are we?” China asked.

“Council headquarters, I suppose,” Ivy said. She bent down to pick up her own bag and her guitar. Straps went over shoulders and she was good to go.

“Yeah but where is that?” China asked. She waved her hand above her bag and it levitated up into her arms. She pulled out a cell phone before she got a sour look from Ivy. “What?” She asked of her sister.

“I think that she thinks you are going to check a GPS program,” Maya said with a smile. Ivy tapped her nose and pointed at Maya and also smiled brightly.

“That’s not what I was going to do,” China said. She looked indignantly at her sister.

“It wouldn’t work anyway. There’s probably an anti-technology field around this whole area. I imagine they’re covering all of their bases because they are the Council. Additionally, we might still be under a whammy from the ticket. Also, it’s rude.” Ivy said, her voice was a little raised in full-on teacher mode. China quietly slipped her phone back into her bag.

“Most of us don’t carry cell phones or stuff like that, at least not in my experience,” Maya said. She was looking at China in particular. There were so many magical means of communication that cell phones were far too limited in comparison. Also, magic and technology did not always play nice and devices often ended up overloaded or broken.

“I don’t know. It’s come in handy a few times,” China said. “Like looking up arcane symbols or remembering what monsters look like.”

“She uses it to check our Twitter feed,” Ivy said casually.

“What do you have a Twitter feed for?” Robin asked. She had reconnected with the Internet after Coyote had graduated her. So she knew the basics which meant that she knew what Twitter was.

“It’s how people contact us with missions in between the missions we get from the Ishim,” China said.

“What do you mean? Other missions?” Maya asked.

“We get bored between calls to fight monsters. It can be a long time in between Ishim orders sometimes. We use that time to save people or just help people out,” Ivy said with a smile.

“Oh,” Maya said.

“Why? What do you do with that time?” China asked.

“I help people too actually but I do it by patrolling. By letting the universe guide me. I’ve never received missions from anyone but the Ishim,” Maya said.

“Our method is way easier,” China said. “When this is over, I’ll help set you up.”

“Thanks,” Maya said.

A tall man stepped out of the woods in front of them. All three of them reached for implements of defense or offense.

“Hold. I am here to lead you to Ishim Hall,” the man said and held up the Ishim sigil. All three of them relaxed. Ishim was still a pretty secret word among the public and using it was as good as a membership card. Besides, Maya was beginning to trust the sisters and if they trusted this man, she supposed she could too. “Please follow me.” Then he started to walk back through the woods he had come out of. They started to follow the man through the woods as quickly as they could. Ivy made sure the younger girls went first so Maya ended up in front.

They walked for miles through the woods. There were no paths that could be seen anywhere. Still, the man’s steps did not falter and he confidently walked in one direction. Obviously, he knew where he was going so the navigation waypoints he was using were probably so well hidden. It was either that or he innately knew their destination. Eventually, they walked along a stream and after a while, Maya realized that there were no wildlife sounds. The stream led into the gaping mouth of a cave and the man stopped and stood aside.

“You three are to go on from here.” The man said.

“What’s your name?” Ivy asked.

“I do not have one,” The man said.

“Then what do we call you if we need your help again?” Maya asked.

“I wouldn’t worry about it,” The man said. “I’m not even real.” Before they could question that he started to fade away like milk mixing into coffee. After a quick moment, he was gone as if he had never been there at all.

“Um. That was strange,” Maya said.

“I don’t know, I like a flair for the dramatic.,” China said.

“So do I but I don’t like standing around and talking about it. Let’s go into the cave,” Ivy said.

Shield of the Ishim 6

March 5, 2016

Ishim Shield

The ticket was absolutely and totally gone. Maya looked wildly, desperately at the sisters with big frightened eyes. Any second she could be hurtling into train tracks, an embankment or whatever when she missed the changeover. Why had they not warned her before they got on the train? Now she was doomed and there was not a single thing she could do about it. She felt like falling to her knees and just giving up.

“Relax, Maya. China was just messing with you. The tickets disappear after they’re activated.” Ivy said, showing her empty hands. “We’re perfectly safe.”

Maya took a deep breath and then scowled at China. “You’re a real piece of crap, China.” Maya said but she only mostly meant it. She kept scowling at China until China shifted uncomfortably. It almost felt like a victory so she found herself smiling just a little.

“Sorry. That was the last one. I promise.” China said. She was telling the truth or at least she thought she was. Maya softened her expression a little more.

“Don’t you believe it,” Ivy said. “She’ll do it again. But we’re all friends, right? Partners?”

“Yeah. Partners.” China said.

“Partners,” Maya said. “Should we sit down?”

“Gross! It looked like a full train. Wouldn’t it be like sitting in someone’s lap?” China asked.

“More like sitting through somebody’s lap,” Maya said with a smile.

“Exactly. Just like the ticket taker. I know it’s weird but we might as well get comfortable. Besides, you’re both still injured.” Ivy said. China had been it so well but she had to have also been injured in the fall.

“I’m fine,” China said flatly.

“I’m also feeling a lot better. Maya said. She focused on her crutches and watched them collapse slowly. In a second the crutches had collapsed to six-inch wooden rods. She slipped those into her messenger bag. She smiled at Ivy and she was sure she caught a look of approval from China out of the corner of her eye. She fought off a blush.

“Very impressive, tough girls. Why don’t we sit down anyway?” Ivy asked and sat down right in the middle of a frumpy old lady. Thankfully, as she did, the lady faded to transparency so she could still be seen.

“Whoa!” China cried out.

“And that doesn’t hurt them? They went all clear.” Maya asked.

“It’s complicated magic but they should be fine,” Ivy said.

“Should be fine?” Maya asked.

“Nothing is a hundred percent in life, kiddo. Not even magic.” Ivy said with a wise-looking smile.

Maya and China each sat next to each other and everybody relaxed. Maya tried to process what had happened so far. It was a lot to take in. Threats, monsters, injury, the council and now the Spirit Train. Ivy seemed to be taking it all in stride but she was older and more experienced. Of course, she could be covering and putting on a front like China. China put on a tough face but Maya was beginning to realize she was not any better off than Maya.

Maya had received her training out in the county. Her training had been informal and more touchy feely. It was more campfires and feeling things out and becoming one with the universe. It looked like the sisters had received a stricter and more formal education in the city. Maya had only worked with Coyote and eventually their relationship had become more democratic. She wasn’t used to being the good soldier even if she had no objections to being one. The Ishim obviously had a chain of command but it was rarely enforced other than handing out assignments. That was usually very brief communication too.

As she thought about all this, the scenery passed by the train window. Phantom people walked up and down the aisles, stood up and sat in seats. Eventually, it became easier to ignore the people. Just when Maya had gotten used to things, they changed again. The world swirled around her and she felt weightless. She briefly flashed back to the fight in the basement. Everything went gray and then black and then the three of them were suddenly sitting in a bus.

“Wow. Kind of fun, huh?” Ivy asked.

“It’s pretty crazy but I guess it’s really useful magic,” Maya said. She slowly checked to make sure everything was still attached to her. She tried not to make a show of it since she was still sitting next to China. Though it looked like China was doing the same. That was comforting.

“Which way do you think we’re headed now?” China asked.

“No idea,” Maya said, looking out the window. “There are spells to find that out.”

“Not a good idea,” Ivy said. “They want us to not know. Besides, there are probably protections in place against compass or locator spells.”

“Then what are we supposed to do?” China asked.

“Not much to do. I’ll tell you that I’m taking a nap.” Ivy said.

“Me too,” Maya said, curling up against the window.

“Ok. Sleep tight I guess.” China said with a grumble just before Maya fell asleep.

Shield of the Ishim 5

February 7, 2016

Ishim Shield

A very average train pulled up next to the platform at Penn Station. The breaks squealed and hissed like a real train. The horn sounded just like a real train. The muddy sounds from the overhead speakers warned people to step back like a real train. Maya was confused. She was completely and utterly confused. Maya and the sisters were holding magical tickets to the Spirit Train which was not a cheerleading term. A Spirit Train ticket was an extra rare magical artifact. Maya kind of expected a secret train platform or at least a secret door or something. Instead here was the same ol Penn Station. Not that there was anything wrong with that. It was just a little disappointing.

“Don’t just stand there. All aboard, Maya!” China called out and reached down from the train and pulled Maya in by her armpit. Ivy was already standing nearby and smiling but China moved so she was blocking the view. “Earth to Maya! Are you with us?” China said.

“I am. Yeah. I thought we were riding the Spirit Train.” Maya mumbled, steadying her self against China and stepping back.

“Aww! Were you expecting a big, colorful magic choo choo?” China asked with a playful flip of her hair and a wicked grin. China was so punchable sometimes. Maya narrowed her eyes and let out an exasperated sigh.

“Take it easy, sis.” Ivy said. “Just because you knew what’s going on doesn’t mean you get to tease her.” She pushed past her sister to give Maya a friendly hug. Ivy had been nice the whole time and Maya really appreciated that. She hugged her back.

“But I don’t know what’s going on. That’s very true. Does somebody want to fill me in?” Maya asked. These sisters obviously had a different magical education and those differences could be annoying. Magic was a wide and varied field of study that was mostly exclusive to people with the natural talent to perform spells. Now that magic was public some without the talent were gaining knowlege but they were miles behind. The fact that the sisters knew how the Spirit Train works put them in strange and important company. Maya wondered about that but more immediate was her need to know how the train worked.

“There’s no time. Here comes the ticket taker already!” China said urgently in a stage whisper. She promptly vanished into thin air. Invisibility was a real neat trick among the adept but Maya knew it often created a rippling and crackling feeling when those spells were activated. There was nothing like that this time.

“Listen, Maya, just focus your will into the ticket. That’s all you have to do. It’s simple.” Ivy said, pressing a ticket into Maya’s palm which Maya nearly dropped but she mangaged to awkwardly grasp it.

“Wait but I usually don’t do that. I was taught never to do that.” Maya tried to mutter.

“Just do it!” Ivy spat and then she vanished into thin air too.

Maya hesitated, looking at the grayish silver ticket and then she looked up at the rapidly approaching, smartly dressed ticket taker. She shut her eyes and focused with everything she had in her and, if she thought about it, she would realize that came from panic. She felt the mental and emotional feeling of her magic flow down her arm and into the ticket. It flowed like a river after a rainstorm and smashed into the ticket.

“Um, you can open your eyes.” China said softly. There was something like concern in her voice.

Maya slowly opened her eyes and was shocked to watch the ticket woman walk through her body. She felt panic spasm her body before she realized what was happening and she started to breathe evenly again. The life of an Ishim was strange and full of surprises. She brushed herself off even though there was nothing to brush off but the tension.

“I’m sorry I snapped at you. You have to learn to trust us, Maya. If we’re working together for now then it’s absolutely necessary.” Ivy said.

“I know it’s just that when Coyote trained me he said to never just channel my magic into an object without knowing how it works. That’s how he lost most of his arm.” Maya said.

“I’m sorry I didn’t explain the ticket, Maya.” Ivy said. “We’re sorry, right?” She looked at her sister.

“Sure.” China said and Maya believed her even though it looked like China was trying to act like it was no big deal. Maya nodded back at them and waved it off.

“It takes a month to weave all of the spells in the ticket. They eventually set in the materials like ink drying and they’re examined for any flaws. The ticket phases the user into another plane of existence very close to our own. It allows us to hitch a ride without paying. That’s important because we don’t actually know where we’re going. At any moment we could disappear from this train and appear in a bus or really anything. We’ll keep switching vehicles until we’re dumped at our destination.” Ivy explained.

“Wow, um, thanks for the explanation.” Maya was grateful to know what exactly was happening but it didn’t make the knowledge less intimidating. That was one hell of a spell.

“Speaking of the ticket. Make sure you don’t drop it. If you do, you might be flung out of a moving vehicle and I bet that’s not pretty.” Ivy said.

Maya reached for the ticket and her fingers were so sure and then she panicked. The ticket was gone. She looked up at the sisters who both looked at her and then at each other.


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