Descendants L.A. #1 – Debut pt.1

This entry is part 1 of 13 in the series Descendants: LA Volume 1

One minute, downtown LA’s traffic had been a mess. Then there was a flash of green light, a whoosh of cold and rank air and… it was still a mess. Only now it wasn’t just a normal rush hour mess, but one with a giant mammoth in the middle of it.

‘Mammoth’ being a best fit term based on the casual glances of fleeing bystanders as they abandoned their cars and took to their heels. A second glance revealed it was also wrong. Many of them knew what a mammoth was. Some of them had even endured the drive to San Diego to see the cloned mammoths.

This was like them in the sense that it was covered with shaggy, brown hair, had tusks, a trunk and elephantine feet. That there were six of those feet was the first give away. And beyond that, the trunk was twice as long as an elephant’s, with two forked ‘fingers’ and an opposable ‘thumb’ at the end and it clacked its tusks together in a terrible din.

It seemed to be having fun ripping up signs and parking meters while stomping cars and had been at it happily for a good five minutes.

Or it did before a small gray canister clonked off the hood of a taxi and clattered to a stop at its feet. Comparably tiny eyes squinted down at it just before it exploded in a riot of light, sound and smoke. Blinded, it trumpeted in surprise and fury, rearing up on its rear four legs.

The smoke parted as if trying to actively get out of the way as a blonde girl roared through it, surfing atop of a board made of green light. Her blonde hair whipped in a long banner behind her, clashing with her green-on-black neoprene suit, matching fingerless gloves and green and gunmetal goggles. Her feet were bare.

“Aw, it’s kind of cute.” She mused. “But, I guess fuzzy doesn’t make up for tearing up the block.” She spread her hands wide and a screen of the same green light her surf board was made of expanded into the space ahead of her, driving ahead of her like a plow blade.

It struck the rearing animal’s feet and force it to lift up onto only its rearmost legs. The intent was clearly to topple the behemoth over, but said behemoth had other plans. Its trunk snaked over the screen and slammed the surfer girl off her board and into a high arc toward the hard corner of a concrete building.

There was a flash of red and a figure caught her out of the air; a helmeted young man wearing a lightly reinforced red and yellow bodysuit with a bright yellow belt. He hit the concrete instead, but with rather less force than should have been expected.

“Thanks, Rebound!” The girl said happily and leapt out of his arms and onto a green light board that formed under her feet inches before she touched the ground.

“You can’t just charge ahead, Boarder.” He admonished her. The lower part of his face was all that was visible and it betrayed only a small frown. “We were going to hit it all at once.”

“I didn’t even bother trying.” A figure just seemed to blink into existence just behind Rebound; a taller, thin male figure in a light gray cloak over a black and white fencer’s uniform that seemed to have the same reinforcement as Rebound’s. He had the hood of the cloak up and not an inch of his skin was exposed. He had his right hand on the pommel of a sword that hung from his left hip.

“Our ‘eccentric’ Green Boarder does this all the time in training, so it was a given that she’d do it in real life too.” He added.

“It’s only because you guys are so slow on the draw!” The Green Boarder defended herself.

“Leave her alone, Loshuia.” A strong, feminine voice, tinged with barely contained rage came from above. A woman, as tall as the swordsman, but with a definite figure that contrasted with the Boarder’s wiry thinness, drifted downward in a sphere of what looked like crackling red lightening, but which made no sound. “We did react too slowly.”

She wore a cloak in the same style of the swordsman, but the color of old blood. Underneath was a form hugging, but not skin tight black tunic or possibly a dress of unfamiliar cut, which hung well past her thighs and belted with a set of brown, leather belts that were heavily laden with various packs and pouches, plus a pair of obsidian daggers. Beneath the tunic, she wore leggings a shade darker than her cloak. Except for a pair of elbow length black gloves, her arms were bare in her skin was tinged with red.

Not far behind here came a heavily custom motorcycle in green and blue with a gold TM emblem on the nose plate and stamped to the hubcaps. The rider could have almost been mistaken for part of the machine; all covered in heavy armor of blue and green plastics, ceramics and metal. Only his face was partly uncovered, revealing a sun kissed complexion and a sad attempt at a soul patch. The rest was obscured by a heavy visor over his eyes and a metallic skullcap on his head.

The swordsman ignored him to throw a glare up at the woman. “I act precisely as quickly as needed, Icthiani.” He drawled the name insultingly.

“Guys.” Rebound said sharply. “Public, remember? Codenames. That’s Zephyrus and Lady Demon, okay?”

“You have no idea what demons are.” Lady Demon said.

“Yeah, and I’ve been thinking,” The young man on the motorcycle said, “I know you thought it was cool and fitting ’cause I’m the youngest, but Teen Machine has like less than two years of shelf life before it’s inaccurate. I wanna be Big Gun.”

Lady Demon gave him a withering look. “No one is calling you Big Gun.” Teen Machine made a whimpering sound.

“We could call you Elf Princess.” Green Boarder said happily. “If we’re trying to be accurate.”

Rebound interrupted a snarl from Lady Demon before it could become the string of foreign curses that he was never sure weren’t actual curses that usually highlighted interaction between Green Boarder and Lady Demon. “Guys! Focus! Lady D, Zephyrus: what’s the lowdown on this thing?” He pointed to the mammoth-thing that had lost track of them, possibly due to poor eyesight, and was slamming into a city bus to take out its frustrations.

“It’s an iegorum.” Lady Demon said offhandedly. “I don’t know what species, but that can’t possibly matter. They like arctic swamps, eats peat and pretty much any other aquatic vegetation it can get. Aside from habitat and diet, it’s basically exactly like one of your elephants, but as smart as a chimpanzee… a tool user in other words.”

“So it won’t be hard to kick its ass.” Teen Machine said hopefully.

“How many elephant’s asses have you kicked?” asked Zephyrus.

“Fine.” sulked the armored teen.

Rebound sighed. “Okay, look, so this thing is definitely not from around here, right?” The question was for Lady Demon and she nodded. “Good. Zephyrus, Boarder. You two are with me to contain it. Lady D and TM, set up a return to sender.”

Lady Demon glanced over at Teen Machine’s hopeful face. “Must I?”

“Can you do it without high explosives?”

She sighed. “No.”

“Than you’re stuck with me!” TM grinned. He raised his left arm and it shifted and reconfigured, revealing that there was no flesh or bone there at all. Instead, it became a hollow tube surrounded by machinery. “But don’t worry, I’ve been working on my HE grenades to make things less messy than in practice. The Big Gun’s got your back, Dee.”

Lady Demon glared at Rebound. “The discussion of codenames isn’t over, human. I won’t be called a demon. But I will not call him ‘Big Gun’.”

“Whatever.” growled Rebound. “Alright. Descendants LA – let’s pack up this pachyderm!”

Zephyrus laughed dryly. “Okay, that was clever.”

“We’re also going to discuss abolishing puns.” growled Lady Demon, floating upward in her bubble of red energy.

Once again, Green Boarder was out in front of the group, Rebound was right behind her, having found a clear space between the cars. Zephyrus was behind both of them, but gaining fast as he was running along on top of the cars instead of having to dodge open doors and side mirrors here and there.

Boarder made a grasping motion as she passed a hydrant and it was surrounded by green energy as it was ripped out of the ground along with a chunk of the surrounding concrete and the pipe below. She slung it around and sent it flying toward the monster like a bullet.

To her surprise, it caught the projectile with its nimble, hyper-articulated trunk and hurled it at Rebound. The red clad hero took it full on the chest, pausing only to step over it after it bounced softly off his chest. A few more steps and he reached a sedan, which he sent flying at the mammoth-thing with a well placed kick.

The car turned end over end exactly twice before its roof slammed down into the monster’s face like a colossal fly swatter. The iegorum bellowed painfully and went down on its front knees.

“Out of the way.” Zephyrus warned the others before bounding into the air. In the same moment, he drew his sword; a curious blade made of specialized ceramic with a steel core. It had taken weeks to get it balanced properly so that he could move it in the proper stances by muscle memory.

That time and attention proved worth it as he executed the third form of the wind talon, a technique of the Flying Raven School of Blade Mastery. Air congealed around the blade as he swung it, building up into a nearly solid force, which he directed at the iegorum. It struck like a three-knuckled fist the size of a compact car, pounding the crumpled car into the beast’s face.

Distracted and in pain, the monster didn’t notice Teen Machine streak by it on the sidewalk astride his bike, or Lady Demon soaring overhead.

Lady Demon hovered to a stop some yards behind the iegorum and clasped her hands in front of her as if praying. When Teen Machine rolled to a stop beneath her, he heard her rasping in the quasi-musical language she and her brother insulted each other in and which peppered her diatribes toward himself and Green Boarder.

The red lightening settled down into an angrily surging ring around her as she intoned the spell. Presently, she unclasped her hands and with her right, drew out an enamel placard from one of the pouches on her belts. It was plain white with flowing red script along the edge. As she spoke, a reddish haze formed in the air ahead of her.

Meanwhile, the iegorum shook the car off its face and raised a foot to stomp forward. Rebound ran beneath it, hands upraised to catch the descending extremity. Instead of being squashed flat, he stood fast, seemingly unaffected by the weight, or the vicious stomp that followed.

“I can’t store anymore.” He groaned. “Boarder, now!”

She didn’t have to be told twice. A green screen was erected into being and slammed upward into the monster’s chin. At the same time, Rebound hefted mightily and suddenly, the iegorum was once more driven back onto its hind legs. But this time, it didn’t stop moving, rolling back onto its haunches and then thundering down onto its back.

Trumpeting in a panic, the iegorum flailed with its trunk, wrapping it around the first thing it could find, which unfortunately happened to be Teen Machine. With no trouble at all, it lifted him off his motorcycle and swung him around to ward off potential attacks on it’s soft underbelly.

“Lady D!” the hapless young man screamed as the rough treatment made the servos in his arms grind and the world spin. “Help!”

Still in the middle of her spell, Lady Demon clenched her teeth at his screams. “I’m busy.” She snarled.

“You still need me to open the portal though!” He argued.

“Well I can’t start the portal if you keep distracting me!”

Green energy wrapped around him, stopping the swinging at least, but the trunk was wrapped around his torso, which was pretty much the only part of him aside from his head that he couldn’t detach.

“Should I try and pull harder?” Green Boarder asked Rebound.

“No, we can’t risk hurting him.”

Zephyrus ran up alongside the iegorum as if struggled to stand without relinquishing its hold on Teen Machine. “TM!” He shouted. “Irritate its trunk. They are very sensitive there.”


“It’s the same reason your hands and feet are sensitive. Just do it!”

Teen Machine shifted painfully so as to work his non-converted hand around and did the only thing he could in that position: he ticked the beast’s trunk.

A tremor ran up the appendage and the iegorum tossed its head and clacked its tusks. Then it sneezed. Suddenly, Teen Machine popped free, pulled away by Green Boarder’s telekinesis. But the escape was not without its price.

“Oh, that’s just nasty!” he moaned as Green Boarder set him down next to his bike. A yellow, semi-translucent film covered his chest and oozed down to his legs. He didn’t have time to voice his displeasure though, as he was interrupted by a roar like the rising of a hurricane wind behind him.

The Astral Gate manifested before him and Lady Demon as a circle of rose light edged in Lady Demon’s usual red lightening.

“Hurry up.” the sorceress ordered.

Still wishing he could hose off the fey mucus off his armor, Teen Machine leapt back astride his bike and dropped the kickstand, a precaution against what he knew was coming. “Calculating distance to event horizon for aerial burst.” He announced with smug confidence as he lowered his tube-arm.

There was a dull, hollow pop and a metal canister issued for from his arm along with a plume of white smoke. It tumbled in a deceptively clumsy way through the air until the moment is crossed over the plane delineated the Astral Gate, at which point, it exploded.

Started to explode, at least. The blast wave expanded inside the portal and the rose light of the astral plane seemed to shatter like a mirror caught on high speed film. Beyond it was a wild chaos of green fog and what looked like dark thorns twisting just beyond view.

No sooner was the portal to Faerie open than a howling vortex issued from it, greedily dragging at everything within range. Cars skidded on their tires, lose trash, debris and pieces of cars smashed in the iegorum’s rampage outright flew into the portal and disappeared in the mists beyond.

Zephyrus planted his sword in the asphalt and turtled behind it, his cloak billowing in the tornadic winds. Likewise, Rebound and Green Boarder were saved only by her quick use of a telekinetic shield.

Closer to the vortex, Teen Machine leaned with his motorcycle, planting a mechanical leg to supplement the kickstand against the wind. A wave of relief filled him as he watched the iegorum start to move, dragged more strongly than anything else in the inexorable pull of its homeworld.

That relief died when he saw that it was having the same effect on Lady Demon. They had never banished anything as large as the iegorum before and the pull from the portal seemed to depend on mass. So despite how easily she had always escaped it before, he could see that this time, she was slowly conceding ground.

His free arm converted, most of the solid pieces and electronics lifting aside to bring a small but powerful winching system to the fore where it plugged into a cap at the end of his wrist. His hand snapped open in a grasping position with the thumb rotating to be directly opposed to his fingers.

After a second of aiming and gauging distance, a small rocket motor ignited, blasting the hand in Lady Demon’s direction. A thin cable trailing behind it. Moments later, it passed through her screen of lightening undamaged and a smaller rocket boosted it into a wide loop around her waist.

Once the hand caught, Teen Machine started to reel in. The force now dragging on both him and Lady Demon was incredible, causing the bike to screech forward in spite of his bracing leg and kickstand. Thinking fast, he started the bike and threw it into reverse. Rubber burned and the servos doing both the reeling and holding his arm in screamed against the mighty pull of the Faerie world.

Zephyrus watched the whole thing from where he was barely managing to keep from being pulled in himself. “Boarder!” He shouted across the street. He could only just make out her reply over the wind. “I need you to catch me!”

He didn’t wait for an answer. Unlike his sister, he trusted the others. So it was with confidence that he pulled his sword from the ground, finding that a band of green energy had already formed across his chest. Thus, his arms were left free to perform the uplifting sweep technique’s first form.

The wind coming off his sweeping sword sheered against that from the portal, forming a small cyclone that span up into a pillar of air beneath the iegorum. It was only a small push against a huge bulk, but it was enough to lift the beast away from the ground and the friction slowing its approach to the portal.

Without that friction, the vortex was free to firmly capture the giant beast, spinning it tumultuously until it was pulled over the event horizon. The iegorum was barely shrouded in the mists before the portal sputtered and collapsed on a brilliant crimson flash.

Series NavigationDescendants L.A. #2 – Debut pt.2 >>

About Vaal

Landon Porter is the author of The Descendants and Rune Breaker. Follow him on Twitter @ParadoxOmni or sign up for his newsletter. You can also purchase his books from all major platforms from the bookstore
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