Issue #7: Legacy of One

This entry is part 8 of 15 in the series The Descendants Vol 1: Welcome to Freeland House

Part 4

Morganna banked sharply, narrowly avoiding another shot from Sky Tyrant’s plasma lance. She had led him on a merry chase back and forth over the city and between its buildings. Their fight had attracted the attention of the whole of Mayfield; sirens wailed on the streets below and they occasionally crossed paths with police air patrols and news helicopters, both of which weren’t nearly agile enough to keep up with them.

And yet, she hadn’t attracted the response she had hoped for. “Where… are they?” she muttered aloud. Everything she had learned about psionics pointed to a group of powerful ones that supposedly protected the city; Life Savers, Inc. Thus, she had concluded that that she needed only to endanger the city to draw them out. But even leading the enraged Sky Tyrant in a wild firefight across the city hadn’t done the trick.

Below, she spied the West Truman Bridge, spanning the St. Anne River and connecting northern Mayfield to the industrial southern end. She smiled while dodging a burst from the Tesla Arc. Perhaps she merely needed a proper arena to orchestrate her battle.

***

“I’m really sorry we got cut short.” Juniper was saying to Kay as the other girl boarded a bus with Lisa. “We’ll hang out tomorrow after school to talk about those new songs, okay?”

“Good plan.” Kay said. “See you all tomorrow then. Tell Ms. Brant I said to feel better.” She waved as the bus door closed. Lisa waved to them from one of the windows.

“The only person that’s sick is me.” Cyn grumbled, watching the bus pull away. “Sick of that lunatic dictating our lives.” She folded her arms indignantly. “You know what we should do? We should suit up and go after her.”

Warrick and Juniper blinked at her in surprise.

“No, seriously, think about it; she’s probably out looking for that book right now – if that Sky Tyrant guy hasn’t taken her out already. She wouldn’t expect us to hunt her instead of the other way around.”

“But Mr. Smythe and Ms. Keyes barely stopped her last time.” Juniper pointed out. “Not that I don’t have faith in our powers…”

“You never use your powers.” Cyn interjected.

“I do when it’s necessary.” Juniper calmly replied. “What I was saying though, is that I’m wondering what we can do with her once we do catch up to her? Local police have enough trouble detaining psionics, let alone ancient sorcerers.”

“Technically she’s a sorceress.” Warrick said thoughtfully, ignoring the glare from Cyn. “Anyway, she may be easier to shut down than a psionic. She seems to need to use magic words and hand movement to do most of the impressive stuff. Plus, if she’s anything like a wizard from a book or a game, she’s going to need magic ingredients to do anything really long lasting.”

“We’re using roleplaying games as viable intelligence sources now?” Cyn raised any eyebrow.

“Why not? She’s literally using magic spells and what I’m pretty sure is a spell book, so why can’t this be true too?”

“He has a point.” Juniper said.

Cyn sighed. “Fine, so she’d Gandalfina the Black. How does that help the ‘what to do with her afterward’ problem?”

“Simple.” Warrick said. “We take away her toys and—“

He was cut off by the scream of a siren. A Mayfield PD air patrol cruiser roared overhead, its red and blues flashing brightly. It was followed almost immediately by a second and then a third.

What could that be about?” Juniper asked, “You hardly even see one air patrol in a day…”

“We’ll know in a second…” Cyn said, fishing a thumb sized rectangular device from her purse.

“Since when do you have a police scanner?” Warrick asked as he was handed an earpiece.

“Seemed like good standard equipment for a defender of the city.” Cyn shrugged, handing Juniper a second earpiece. “You never know when you’ll need—“

“Ms. Keyes!” Juniper said, looking up and waving. The black convertible had just stopped at the light across from them. Ian was in the passenger seat. “She’s already stopped Morganna once; she may have an idea on how to do it again.”

“No way.” Cyn shook her head. “If she finds out about us, it’s the end of Life Saver’s, Inc.”

Warrick was already headed for the car. “But Juniper’s right, Cyn. She and Mr. Smythe know more about how to deal with her than we do and they never told us many details about what happened with the Ape Knight. They’re our best chance to stop her.”

Cyn narrowed her eyes and followed, flipping on her scanner.

***

Ian had spent most of the evening trying not to gawk. Alexis looked absolutely beautiful in the white dress she had changed into. He felt extremely underdressed in his ratty sport coat. He frowned down at himself. He had been forced to buy a whole new wardrobe upon arrival in Mayfield; even the clothes he’d worn that night had been shredded and bloodied by Prometheus. How, he wondered, was it even possible for his coat to have become so worn looking in that time.

“That was actually a lot of fun.” Alexis said, not noticing his self inventory. “The Overwhelming franchise was my favorite way back when – who’d have thought it’d be up to six movies by now?”

“I wouldn’t have.” Ian replied. “It sort of tanked in Overwhelming IV, when they killed off Alice to prove the villain was evil.”

“Wait, Alice was in the movie we just watched…”

“It’s complicated, but she got resurrected in the fifth movie, Vessel of God. That’s why she was all goodness and light to everyone in this one.

“Well, I’m glad she’s back in any event.” Alexis shrugged. “I’m really glad we ended up going out, I really needed that.” She slowed to a stop at a red light. “And you were right, I was so concerned about the kids, I wasn’t really myself. I’ll try and keep things more… balanced from now on.”

“But not tonight, apparently.” Ian sighed.

“What do you mean? Weren’t we…” Alexis looked up to see Cyn nearly run into the side of the car and start pounding on the passenger window. Warrick and Juniper weren’t far behind.

“—got big, big trouble.” Cyn was saying when the window came down. She thrust her hand through the open window and clicked on the speaker on her police scanner, allowing the squawking noise of the police communications into the car.

“—down! Repeat unit twelve is down and not responding, control. The bridge is blockaded. Repeat, we have an unidentified psionic engaging an individual in unregistered, custom armor on the West Truman Bridge. Officers down. There are civilians still on the bridge and a blockade preventing ground units—“Cyn clicked the device off.

“It’s Morganna.” She said gravely.

“Get in.” Alexis said sharply.

“But—“Warrick started.

“The West Truman Bridge is all the way across town.” Alexis explained as the youths piled into the back of the car. “It’s going to be a pain getting there even with Laurel giving us all green lights.”

“We’re going to go fight her?” Juniper asked, more surprised than pensive.

“She isn’t giving us much choice.” Ian said before Alexis could think about what she had just said. “A lot of innocent people are in danger and the police honestly can’t handle Morganna.”

“Well, it started out as a pleasant evening on the town.” Alexis frowned, putting in a call to Laurel.

“Wait, you two are dating?” Cyn and asked.

***

Scuff breathed hard through his nose. The thick smoke had forced him to land just to see where he was going. Morganna hadn’t fought back the entire time he’d chased her but upon sighting the bridge, she had called down the fury.

The deck of the suspension bridge was in disarray, holes gouged out of it from spell-fire, strewn with hastily abandoned cars. Shouts and screams from somewhere beyond the wall of smoke told Scuff that the occupants of those cars hadn’t been able to escape the bridge.

“What? Are you going to hide behind hostages now?” Scuff snarled, using his external speakers to amplify his voice. “It won’t save you. I’ll just go through them to get to you, bitch.”

“I don’t… don’t want you anymore.” Morganna’s voice came though the haze. Now without her wings, she was standing on top of a car that had crashed into a guardrail. “This… this is for them. They will come.”

“First, you were after ‘him’, now you’re after ‘them’.” Scuff mocked. “I don’t think even you know what the hell you’re talking about.” He raised his machine gun. There was a whir and a click, but nothing happened. He was out of ammo for the machine gun. Now that he thought of it, he became aware that his plasma lance fuel was low as well and Liedecker hadn’t allowed Gear to load his missile racks.

“You already let… him know.” Morganna chuckled. “He’s… he’s watching right now. Watching through your eyes. Maybe now… he understands.”

“Well I’ll be damned.” Liedecker growled through the com link now in Scuff’s head. “She’s talking about me. That brain dead, half baked little wench has been playing with me! She’s keeping still now, Singer. Finish her off!”

“He’ll… he’ll go and see it for himself…” Morganna smiled, watching Scuff level his plasma lance. “the magic… it is power beyond his dreams.”

Scuff charged the shot to full before firing. With infinite calm, Morganna tossed a handful of pennies into the air and spoke a word of power. Arcs of red energy reflected off each penny as it hovered in the air before her. The shot from the plasma lance pierced the cloud of energized coinage and began to rebound within, like an animal caged.

“Interesting weapon.” Morganna motioned and imprisoned bolt leapt out to catch the Sky Tyrant squarely in the chest, knocking him backward into the side of an SUV. “I… I will harness it once I have the psionics.”

“Psionics? What the hell? Why are you after psionics?” Scuff demanded. “And what does that have to do with what you did to me!?”

“Everything!” Morganna screeched. She took some flower pedals out of her bag and threw them into the air. A stiff wind began to kick up, drawing the smoke back from the bridge like a curtain.

Groaning, Scuff felt Morganna once more invade his mind and was compelled to activate his flight systems. He flew up and could now get a clear look at the bridge. Either end was sealed off by a tangle of thorny vines, some as thick around as his thigh. People, those caught on the bridge when Morganna had attacked, were huddled together in fear in the shadow of one of the towers. “Why the are you doing this?” Scuff asked, straining hopelessly against Morganna’s control.

“They… they will come.” Morganna said. “They have to come. To protect… the people. From you.” She asserted her control on him fully once more and he began to charge the Tesla Arc, aiming at the frightened citizens.

Bullets rained down from above. Two police air patrols poured everything they had into the Sky Tyrant, forcing it to the ground.

“No!” Morganna screamed, sending her invisible knives to slash at the aircraft. One was out of range, but the second was close enough for her to sever its fuel line. It whined as it began to lose altitude.

***

“We’ve got to do something!” Cyn cried, watching the police vehicle crash land on the bridge deck. The convertible was a few blocks from the bridge, as close as the traffic would allow. “She’s going to kill everyone on that bridge.

Alexis chewed her lip. She couldn’t allow that. But she also couldn’t drag the kids into it. Sighing heavily, she opened the roof. “Ian, keep an eye on them.” She said, unbuckling her seatbelt. “I’m going to go after Morganna alone.” With that, she activated her black heat and flew from the car.

“Wait,” Cyn frowned. “She’s going to go save the day, but we’re not allowed to?”

“Like hell.” Ian said, turning around to the kids. “Warrick, Juniper can you use your powers at this range?” They both nodded. “Good, get ready to. She can’t get mad if no one actually sees you using them.”

“What about me?” Cyn demanded.

“You and I are going to have to sit this one out.” Ian said.

***

Morganna frowned at the devastation she had wrought. The other police vehicle was circling around, buffeted too strongly by her mystic wind to take a proper shot. Satisfied that it was no longer a threat, she turned her attention back to the Sky Tyrant.

“Now… let us try this…” Hissing motes of black heat stung her skin, breaking her concentration. “You!” she exclaimed, spotting the woman shaped void that was the source of the attack.

“Me.” Alexis affirmed. “You remember me from last time, don’t you?”

Morganna grinned malevolently. “Finally. I have waited for you… you and the others. Abominations. Monsters. I will end you and make your power mine!” She reached into her bag. “Behold, the—“Her hand failed to close on what she was seeking. “No…” she murmured. “No, no, no! The book!” She began rummaging in the bag frantically as Alexis dove toward her.

The two women collided, Morganna’s bag spilling its contents over the concrete.

“No!” Morganna shrieked, kicking Alexis away and scrambling on her hands and knees to pick up some of her fallen reagents. Her fingers stopped a fraction of an inch away from them – they were encased in a solid crust of ice. “What… what is—“Something hit her from behind, sending her sprawling head first into the side of a pickup truck. A trio of propane tanks rattled in the bed.

She turned to see that one of the cables from the bridge had animated, whipping the air, attempting to strike at her.

“It looks like I’ve got a little help.” Alexis said, standing up from where she had landed. “This is how it ends, Morganna. Without your little spell casting kit, there’s not a lot of options left.” She took a step forward. “We both know your stolen psionic power won’t work on me.” She bluffed the last part, praying Morganna wouldn’t call her on it.”

“No.” a tired, angry voice said. The pickup was lifted jerkily into the air. The Sky Tyrant’s black visored face seemed to glare at Morganna. “THIS is how it ends.”

“Wait, we can’t kill her.” Alexis pointed out. “That’d make us as bad as her.”

“Correction.” The Sky Tyrant’s speakers barked. “You can’t kill her. But she already made me just as bad as her.” With that, he hurled to half ton vehicle at the sorceress. Morganna had tried to leap clear, but Scuff had flung the truck laterally instead of downward. It clipped her at the knees and the momentum threw her into the bed. The truck turned missile sailed between the bridge cables before plunging toward the St. Anna River below.

Roaring in victory, Scuff flew over to the edge of the bridge deck, charging the Tesla Arc. “Now die!”

The next few moments seemed to move in slow motion. Alexis threw herself at Sky Tyrant, screaming as blue electricity flooded form his weapon and into the falling truck. She slammed into him, knocking him to the ground, just as the propane tanks ignited. As the fireball blossomed up to devour her, she was taken off her own feet by a golden figure with wings. The fire never touched her, but the shockwave knocked her out.

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Landon Porter is the author of The Descendants and Rune Breaker. Follow him on Twitter @ParadoxOmni or sign up for his newsletter.

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