- Issue #85 – The Ballad of Bad Lass
- Issue #86 – Those Not Forgotten
- Issue #87 – Descendants… In Space
- Issue #88 – Tome of Battle
- Issue #89 – All That Glitters
- Issue #90 – Just Us Sidekicks
- Issue #91 – Rock and Roll Lifestyle
- Descendants Special #8 – The Heart of Rock ‘N Roll
- Issue #92 – Homage
- Issue #93 – Day of Recovery
- Issue #94 – The Knight, The Witch and the Gadgeteer (FaerieQuest Part 1)
- Issue #95 – Into The Woods (FaerieQuest Part 2)
Homage (Part 6)
More booms shook Hermes’s moon palace as the remaining members of The Descendants and Descendants: LA appeared: Kareem, Melissa, Cyn, Ramona and Lydia, alongside everyone who had been wrapped up in Hermes’s altered realities.
“W-what just happened?” Alexis—or rather Lexi of Seraph Copse—looked around in confusion, clutching the blender carafe she’d been holding when she was transported. “Where am I?”
Not far away, the Jade Mantis drew her gas gun and went back-to-back with Kay. “Who are all you people?” Her eye noticed Ian and Laurel there and her lips set in a thin line of concern.
Teen Machine, still in his retro-style armor, glanced at the bewildered heroes and looked to JC, who was looking much less triumphant as he realized most of the reinforcements he’d managed to use his strange new gadget to summon weren’t being helpful. “Dude, can your box thing fix whatever Herpes or whatever did to their heads?” His own hands were full with a still-demonic Icthiani, who struggled mightily against his mighty transistor-powered arms.
Hermes gave him a sour look. “You know, it’s endearing when you mangle sangrelogos because it’s supposed to be an alien word—instead of obvious Latin—but it’s just hurtful when you mock my name.”
“Herbie?” Teen Machine tried again.
“Are you doing this on purpose?!” Hermes’s face turned red in apoplectic rage.
Cyn folded her arms, looking around at all her friends in allies in strange costumes with presumably strange powers. “The more important question is why the hell I was left out of this? It looks awesome!”
“Thank you!” Bellowed Hermes, throwing up his arms in his frustration, “As for why you weren’t included, it isn’t as if I was done. I mean there are enough characters and material here for a double issue, really—and I haven’t even begun to bring in the New York prelates, the Brits—oh, or the new Japanese team.”
“Japanese team?” Cyn’s eyes darted to the Super Sentinels.
Hermes covered his mouth. “Oops. Spoilers.”
Then a bar of black heat hit him squarely in the chest, sending him tumbling end over end across the smooth tile floor of the moon palace. A woman-shaped void loomed over him, her eyes blazing with light.
“Wh—actually, more importantly is ‘how’?” Hermes stared up at Darkness. “You’re supposed to be the affable juice girl. Juice girls don’t have powers!”
Kareem raised a hand, his eyes unfocused as he worked his power over others. “Cynthia isn’t the only one you made the mistake of disincluding. And your alterations amount to little more than hypnotic suggestions. They are trivial to tear down.”
Hermes growled and rose, deftly dodging another bolt of black heat from Darkness. Behind her, the chaos and confusion was ebbing as more and more of the affected started to return to their senses.
“Trivial?!” he spat, “I span new reality like it was cotton candy. I forged entirely new scenarios (admittedly in homage to some classics of the genre) for each of you to experience! I had all of you dancing to my tune.”
He leaned to the side, allowing one of Juniper’s psychokinetic blasts and a wave of distortion from Occult’s new rod to pass him by harmlessly. “I even gave a few of you some lovely parting gifts!” His eyes narrowed. “Do you even know who I am? Hermes is most assuredly not some appellation I adopted as a secret identity. You. Stand. Before. A. GOD.”
With the last words, a wave of raw power rippled out of him, knocking everyone involved off their feet.
“So show some respect.”
A rending noise cut the tension as alien metal fixtures tore themselves from the walls and flowed up to form greaves, gauntlets and a pectoral over Warrick’s Super Sentinel armor. Moments later, Isp and Osp uncoiled from his upper arms, weaving in the air menacingly.
“Yeah, sure, buddy,” Warrick said, settling into a fighting stance. “We’ve come up against overpowered creeps before and come out on top. Just because you can put on a good show, maybe knock us around doesn’t mean we’re gonna back down. Now let us go, or we’re gonna get dangerous.”
Hermes’s lips quirked into a grin. “Nice reference.”
The trickster god sighed. “Never mind. By the way, do you know the other name they have for me? My other job?” He didn’t give Warrick a chance to answer. He was just suddenly right in front of the armored hero, crossing thirty or so feet of distance in an instant. One hand lashed out, striking the pectoral with all the force his velocity imparted, sending Warrick flying.
“Ah yes, Mercury, Messenger of the gods. A lot of people think of me as a god of speed.”
Scarcely did he hear the enraged shout from Tink before he pivoted and snatched both Mantis Claws aimed for him out of the air. “Not bad, my dear—you might have gotten me with your usual weapons, but not so much this time. In fact, thank you, this solves a problem for me.” With that, he turned and threw the claws at Icthiani, who let out an inhuman wail before the current knocked her out.
Teen Machine looked down at her slackening form for a moment before gently lowering her to the ground. As he rose to his full height once more, he flexed his arms out to the sides, the panel in his chest opened, scintillating energy building up on the inside. “Buddy, you just got a whole new problem.”
The gigantic beam of power ripped through the air, tearing and burning the left side of Hermes’s outfit before he could pirouette far enough aside. He grinned savagely. “Ooo, two outraged reactions to a teammate taking a hit? I didn’t know we were doing shipping here.”
He leapt and contorted in the air as lines of black heat, psychokinetic energy and the power from Occult’s rod all stabbed out at him at once. He hit the ground and flattened out as if at the bottom of a push-up, just missing a Wind Raven technique attack from Josh, made slopped from being channeled through the Super Blade instead of his usual sword.
Pushing off, he gave it enough force to get himself back on his feet. Mischief sparkled in his eyes as he raised his arms and beseeched no one in particular, “You came here prepared to fight a madman—and instead you find a g—”
Callie slammed into him from behind at full speed, then turned the corner around him, peppering him with high-speed punches. He moved to block, but then Ray came in with a haymaker containing all the kinetic force he’d managed to build up in the past few minutes, sending Hermes into a pillar. A green-glowing battering ram of telekinetic force from Lydia followed, hammering him in further.
The stonework cracked around him under a force that would shatter a normal man’s bones, but Hermes merely stumbled out of the ruin collapsing around him and fell heavily to his knees, breathing hard.
“I… get it… no more references…”
A staff struck the ground in front of him and he looked up to find Shade’s Apprentice. “No. You don’t get it. We want to go home and not have to deal with you again. This isn’t a game or a joke, or fun times. You attacked everything we know and we will make you pay for it until you end this.”
It didn’t take Hermes long to realize why he was breathing hard and feeling weak. He found Melissa in his slightly blurred vision. He hadn’t exactly forgotten her and her near-deific power, he’d just forgotten that she could, on occasion, be motivated to bring it to bear.
“You’re right. This isn’t a game.” He grunted, fighting the weariness Melissa was forcing upon him, and stood, easily fending off Shade’s Apprentice’s clumsy sweep with the staff and a spear-hand from Ramona, who had come up on his blind side.
Two palm strikes sent the heroines flying from him as he straightened up to his full height. An aspect fell over him, the goofy, strange-haired man in a costume briefly overlaid by the image of a tall, proud figure with a sculpted body, wearing only winged sandals and a similarly winged headdress.
As quickly as it appeared, it was gone, banished by the words he spoke. “This is a lesson. You know—and those who don’t will know soon—that Maeve is coming. The best our ingenious Greeks and mighty Romans were able to do was hold the line. Only one man in history, the great wise man Hyrilius was ever able to seal her away for more than one cycle of hr coming.”
He looked around at the assembled and smiled. “But they never had honest to all gods superheroes before; people with phenomenal powers who, thanks to over a century of cultural pressure are… compelled to use their powers to do the impossible to protect others. Never in the history of the Orrery of Worlds has anyone within Maeve’s reach stood as good a chance as the Blue World does now in defeating her for good and finally bringing the hope of peace to three worlds.”
Eyes roaming over said heroes, he saw some of them become either more or less tense, more or less confused. As it should be. “I merely wanted to reminds you before it starts: not only what that means, but that no matter what hardships Maeve brings down on you, there is joy in this duty you’ve taken up. After all, if there wasn’t why would you keep doing it? Why wouldn’t you just let yourself crumble and break when things get rough?”
“That was never going to happen.” Warrick said firmly.
“Ha. Maybe not to you, Mister ‘Defense of the Heart’, but not everyone is quite so… indoctrinated… into this lifestyle. The rest needed help.”
Laurel stepped forward, a dark expression on her face. “This is what you call helping? Altering our minds? Attacking us?”
“What part of trickster god don’t you understand?” Hermes sighed, rubbing his forehead. “And I thought you were the smart one. “Besides, it was more entertaining this way.”
His posture returned to an easy slouch and he clasped his hands behind his back. “And now, it’s time for you all to go home. For some, I have some lovely parting gifts. For others, well some of you learned a few secret identities just now—I’m going to be taking those memories back.”
“Uh… do I get to keep the magic super computer?” JC asked hopefully.
Hermes let out a long, jovial laugh before saying, “No. Of course not. Ta-ta.” The world flashed white and things began to return to normal.
In the Realm of Faerie, on the slopes of the mountain range called the Teeth of the Sidhe, stood the mighty stone fortress known as the Bastion Burnal. And within the frozen halls of the ancient and eternal keep, in its very heart was a massive, yet spartan chamber.
At its center was a thrown carved from a sapphire the size of a horse and shot through with veins of unworked silver. It lay empty at the top of a long stair in front of which sat a well whose clear water remained liquid even in the killing cold of the Bastion Burnal.
Two ranks of figures in polished wooden armor formed a path between the towering double doors and the well. Between them knelt a creature covered in shaggy fur and garbed in leather armor studded with the teeth of great predatory beasts. Kneeling before the well, he kept his large, jewel-like green eyes respectfully on the floor as the water within the well boiled without heat, rising up into a pillar.
Slowly, the tower of water froze and cracked, taking on a feminine shape with hair like overlapping scales of frost and sharp icicles jutting out from her joints, collarbone and shoulders. An inner glow filtered from the creature’s—known as Mab-Her-Voice—core, sending scattered reflections throughout the chamber.
Clear spheres that served as Mab-Her-Voice’s eyes started down at the shaggy creature. “Report.”
The creature—a yeti—dipped his head. “If it so pleases the Queen of the Air and Darkness. Sages across the world have seen the portents; folk both fey and faerie have been swallowed up in mist, never to be seen again. There is no doubt: the old wards between this world and the Blue have crumbled and the veil between them has been repeatedly violated. Passage to and from our worlds is not possible with enough power—soon it will become trivial.”
Mab-Her-Voice tilted her head and nodded. “Then the time has come to learn more about our enemy. She wishes not to underestimate them again.”
From behind the raised platform holding the throne, shadowy forms appeared, each distinctly different from the other even as the scattered light from Mab-Her-Voice obscured all detail. She made no move to turn in their direction. “You’ve heard. You understand what She wants. Go forth into the world of Mankind. Bring back knowledge. Knowledge of their power, knowledge of their understanding—all the knowledge that they possess.”
As one, the shadows broke and struck off on their new mission.
End Issue #92.