7. "D-Brig At Rest"
A new segment of 'D-Brig: After Limbo' starts here. It's sub-titled 'The Weirdom of Cabalarkon' only partially because
that's where most of the members of the Damnation Brigade are attempting to
make a new home for themselves. Main reason is because, as we shall shortly see, controlling Cabalarkon, the
undying Utopian less so than the place named after him, may well be the key
to controlling the entire Hidden Continent. (The Weirdom's on the coast of Fearsome
Fobbiat in the North-Western quadrant of the Upper Head. Since it's also called
Sedon's Devic Eyeland, it should be easy to locate on the map of the Headworld.)
As the title suggests, Weird-7 is
a relatively pleasant, walk in the park diversion from Weirdness's
usual twists and turns -- its plain weirdness, to put it another way. Not to
mention its constantly increasing cast of characters and scene-shifting, rapid-fire
pace. Most of the characters we'll be following throughout the balance of Weirdness get some quality time to quietly shine herein and, remarkably, there isn't a
fight scene to report.
Because Weird-7 is not full of plot-portents
that you might otherwise miss if you skipped the chapter or joined us after
it's been taken off on the Web, I thought I should take the
opportunity to provide a foretaste of what's coming down the pike. Rather,
if Demios Sarpedon, Mel-Illuminatus's
black-as-midnight twin brother, husband of the presumably late Morgianna, father of Andaemyn, though not Aortic Tsishah
(whose father was a faerie fart), and a long time PHANTACEA role player, gets his way, what'll be coming
up the coast from the Lower Head. (By the way, what follows isn't from Weird-7.
It's from Weird-5 and is actually
a slightly more detailed account of an event originally recounted at the tail
end of LAST-Moon.)
Demios Sarpedon finally convinced [Godbadian General] Quentin Anvil to take him to Dustmound. In place of his wife's body, they discovered a statue of her. It had to be a bizarre joke. The woman who'd been described as a walking statue on the Outer Earth had been replaced by an actual statue.
How it got there was a mystery but Demios vowed that before he died it would be erected in the central square of Cabalarkon between the Citadel of the Thinkers, the Cathedral of the Sleepers, and Saladin Devason's Skyrise. Of course that likely couldn't happen until he was Master of Weir. He figured that it wouldn't take much more than a year, though.
Why shouldn't the most modern civilization on the Head add the most ancient one to its list of satellite states?
The most modern civilization on the Inner Earth is found in the Subcontinent
of Aka Godbad, the lower lip, jaw and goatee areas of Sedon's Head. Godbad used to be the private preserve of Thrygragos Byron and his Byronics.
However, as recounted in 'The Launching of the Cosmic Express', it isn't that any longer. The Fatman, Alfredo Sentalli, or Alpha Centauri as he is known beneath the Dome, one of the most central characters
in the 'Centauri Island' web-serial,
is still there, though.
Through his commercial empire, Centauri Enterprises, he's the de facto ruler of Greater Godbad, which already includes parts of the lower, southwestern Cattail Peninsula on the coast of Akakan, the Headworld's Interior Ocean. Is as ambitious as ever and, at least theoretically, has all the Outer Earth technology (read weaponry) he needs to take over the Hidden Continent any number of times. Has, as of this very month, Tantalar 5980 Year of the Dome, as good as annexed Hadd, the no longer altogether Land of the Dead, and has had his sights on the Upper Head for decades now.
Fatman isn't stupid, though, and since he was once Unmoving Byron's shell would
be well aware of how many times Pyrame Silverstar has tried and failed to conquer the Weirdom of Cabalarkon. Nonetheless, with
or without the Fatman's assistance, Demios is bound and determined to supplant
Saladin Devason and become the Master of Weir himself. So, in his quest to usurp
the Mastery, might Sarpedon be signing his own death warrant? Might be indeed.
Certainly, especially if he can't convince Centauri to buy into his grand plan
big time, the odds would appear to be stacked against him even more so than
they were against Pyrame and everyone else she has ever helped try to conquer
He's an additional problem, one nobody could have anticipated
and he perhaps can be forgiven for not recognizing when he met it, or her, face-to-face.
On Lazam, the Twelfth of Tantalar, Sarpedon watched as the statue of his wife was being winched onto a carrier copter. Looking around he spotted a well-kept woman of indeterminate age, maybe somewhere in her thirties or early forties, on the largest hump of ground in the near area. Because it was just a shadow of its former self, the Sraddhites had dubbed it Diminished Dustmound.
This woman was dressed like a widow: hooded, veiled, and all in black. Although it was not raining, due to the normal, even graceful way she moved they figured she could not be a Dead Thing. Nor, since it was broad daylight with nary a cloud in the sky, could she be a vampire. Woman had pale, ghost-white skin but it crinkled and wrinkled, which meant she was no Utopian either.
Her clothing and the fact she had long, jet black hair indicated she was not one of the Warrior Priestesses of Sraddha. They wore brown robes and, man or woman, invariably shaved their skulls. Even from this distance they agreed she must have been one of Morgianna or Fisherwoman's War Witches -- that she was here suggested she had come in on a witch's stepping stone, what Athenans variously referred to as their bullet pellets, their gunpowder grains of the Grey or, sometimes, their silver shotputs.
That she was dressed as if in mourning might mean she lost a mate, friend or lover in the battle for Dustmound and ultimately for all of Hadd. That her skin complexion was so pale, and her hair so dark, they further agreed she was probably one of the far-ranging, sea-faring Pani merchant folk who hailed from Krachla, the southern tip of the Penile Peninsula, of which Hadd was its shaft. She was bending over, seemingly intent on sifting through the dirt looking for something of value.
One of the bolder Godbadian service men went up and spoke to her. When he came back he said she had broken a mirror and was trying to find its pieces so she did not have any more bad luck. They talked for a few minutes and since she seemed friendly enough he offered to help. She declined, said it kept her busy. That she had all eternity. Thereafter, since she was often seen again, Diminished Dustmound became known as Haunted Dustmound.
Should have called it Demon Mound!
Recall Silverstar opposed the Expansion of the Empire of Lathakra circa 4825
YD when it attempted to take over Cabalarkon. (Recall, also, that I have had
occasion to note more than a few times in these webpages her opposition to the
Thanatoids of Lathakra ...! One can assume from that, her actions in 5950, which have been touched upon
only lightly thus far, and her masterminding of the assault on the Weirdom on
Sedonda the 14th of Tantalar by Telepassa's triplets, who are presumably Trigregos Incarnate, All of Incain, the devils within her, Underlord Yama Nergal, who was cathonitized for his troubles, and Death's Angels, she wants it for
So, not only can he look forward to being opposed by
(half-son) Saladin Devason and therefore the Moloch Sedon Himself, it's unlikely Pyrame
will be offering any assistance. Since, as we discovered last time up, she's
now occupying the Female Entity, that probably eliminates Moon's Angel from
the equation, at least in terms of a potential ally. Then there's the Family
Thanatos. With the support of their Haunted
Angel, Klannit, the Mirror Mentalist, they
too might have their collective eyes on the prize, for themselves.
Finally, despite her superficial
resemblance to none other than the recently abolished Vampire Queen
of the Dead, Nergal Vetala herself, the apparent widow haunting Demon
Mound was more probably Primeval
Lilith, the Queen of Demons, the one who is so old that she, not the Biblical Eve, might have been the mother
of Anti-Patriarch Cain, Slayer of Abel.
This Lilith, whom we began hearing about toward the end of the Launch Tetralogy -- began hearing about in this era anyhow -- had spent most of the previous
six thousand years occupying Pyrame.
Was likely why Silverstar became solid before any other Master Deva and, as we learned in Weird-1,
was why she, the two of them fused together and simultaneously possessing
an ordinary mortal woman, could bear the sedons so necessary to
maintaining the Cathonic Zone or Dome that separates the Inner from the
However, if the wayfaring spirit of Sedon St Synne was right, as of the Fourteenth this Lilith, whom he calls Lethal Lily because she's a reputation for being just that, lethal, is inside Wilderwitch. The Witch is bedding
Saladin Devason, the current Master of Weir, who is also Sarpedon's brother-in-law.
Since Sal's personal demon is the fellow after whom the Headworld, and
St Synne, is named, Demios and whomever else he can convince to support
him in his quest for the Mastery of Weir might, unbeknownst to them, be
coming up against Earthborn demons and Skyborn devils, an unholy alliance
if ever there was one.
About the only thing in Dem's favour is the rest of D-Brig, except for the
Elemental Twins (who are Thanatoids, don't forget) are now living in Cabalarkon.
Bolstered by the return of the Diver and Ringleader they would make formidable
allies. All the more so since, except for the Witch, who may be as bewitched
as she is both bewitching and demonized, they bear no love for Sal, the Moloch
Sedon, demons or devils. With it being the object of desire for so many, I guess
that's why, for the next little while anyhow, we'll be staying in the Weirdom
Only other question is -- will D-Brig last long enough
to choose sides?
Wilderwitch doesn't have an answer to that. Has a pretty good
idea of what's in store for them, though. When, thanks to Kronokronos Akbarartha,
who finally bopped him a good one with his Homeworld Sceptre, Dervish Furie
finally reverts to his Jervis Murray persona on the 25th of Tantalar (Christmas
Day on the outside, precisely a quarter century after they were thrust into Limbo due in large measure to the Magnificent Psycho), which he has not been able to do since D-Brig's arrival
on the Head, he goes to see her in the Master's
Here's a G-Rated excerpt from their largely PG-Rated conversation.
The first person speaking is Wilderwitch.
"Mel said something really interesting; said it's not an accident we're back. She thinks we're back because the devils're back. And they are, in number. Had a look at the Sedon Sphere? It's almost empty compared to the way I remember it. Not that I remember it very well."
"Have to take your word for it. First time anyone's described me as a Godsend, let me tell you."
"That's the problem, Jerry. You're not; Furie was!"
You don't need to have written Weirdness to realize D-Brig won't be
at rest for long. Better enjoy it while you can!
In some respects Weird-8 is another steady-on, slow-as-you-go chapter. Although it heats up as we progress we'll begin, like all of last time up, with a couple more plot portents.
I ended the synopsis for Weird-6 with a BLOCKQUOTE indicating that Pyrame Silverstar, who is now possessing the Female Entity, was heading to the Outer Earth for more than just a Christmas Dinner at the Alliance of Man's headquarters in Houston. The actual ending to that chapter was a reprise of something that happened towards the middle of 'Centauri Island'. Was in fact from a chapter therein with one of my favourite titles ever: "Magnifico Munched".
Last time up we were reminded that Wilderwitch, while still
a teenager, disappeared from the Outer Earth between 1946 and 1949. During that
time she apparently had a child, a daughter, whom she gave over to the Superior
Sisterhood to raise. (Antheans do that sort of thing on a regular basis, have
done for multiple millennia, and even in the Forties teenage pregnancies were
more the norm than the exception. Only real difference is that the Witch did
not then, nor does she in 1980, believe in marriage.) That child, whose father
we know nothing about as yet -- other than it wasn't Jervis Murray or Saladin
Devason --might still be out there. I mention this now because of something
that occurs to the Witch early on this time up:
Wilderwitch believed Psycho's [enlarged, disembodied] brain had been taken away from Damnation [Island] by his sister, Aranyani, who was born Ryne but had retained Mother Eden's maiden name, which was Nightingale. If they ever got back to the Outer Earth they [D-Brig] would have to find them. Trouble was Great Byron had been cathonitized and they had thus far learned of only one other method to cross Cathonia. Unfortunately, that method necessitated a healthy Ringleader and Harry was anything except healthy. Due to the worst case of Gypsium poisoning he had ever suffered chances were he would never be healthy ever again. In fact, were it not for Cathonic Fluid it was much more likely he would be dead before New Years.
In most respects the above BLOCKQUOTE is all you need to know about this chapter
in the long term. I'll tell you a few other things for free, though. Zmas Day
is Xmas, which Outer Earth Xuthrodites, of whom Loxus Abraham Ryne is their
then-current patriarch, named after Xuthros Hor, the Biblical Noah. Is also,
not that you would need reminding, what Christians, and not just Christians,
on the Outer Earth call Christmas. In the Weirdom of Cabalarkon it's named after
Harry Zeross, Ringleader, who is regarded as the Saviour of the Utopian Race,
whose current Master is Saladin Devason. Despite the fact that Harry is going
to be immersed in Cathonic Fluid later that night, Sal's decided to go ahead
with the celebration. Of course he may have another motivation as well. Jerk
that he is, the Master does like to show off.
Having been born in late 5927, and after having been lost in Limbo for a quarter
century, in 5980 Wilderwitch is physically just turning 28. Willing or unwillingly,
she's currently bedding Devason. (As we've already seen, what Mel-Illuminatus
believes notwithstanding, the Witch has determinded it's willingly.) Other than
herself, however, none of D-Brig is aware of what she's doing with the Master.
That changes in Weird-8. Here's Melina
Zeross's heads-up to D-Brig, minus Wilderwitch, on what she knew was about to
Melina finished instructing the other Illuminaries. They, men and significantly more women than men, nodded and lined up in front of various Matter Transducers. She turned to her husband, her daughters, and D-Brig. "The Illuminaries and my family are familiar with these proceedings but you newcomers are not. So listen carefully and please don't deviate from what I'm telling you. It's not just sound and light, signifying nothing. What the Master does signifies everything to these people. As offensive as it is to some of us he's as good as their god!"
(Should mention, before we carry on to the next particularly good scene, that
one of Blind Sundown's attributes, besides being able to see through other folks
eyes when he is in contact with them, is that, Creature of the Cosmos that he
and Raven's Head are, proximity to him retards and sometimes even negates the
abilities of other supranormals.)
Saladin [Devason, the Master of Weir] was growing huge, immensely huge. His shape was filling up the entire hall. Then, abruptly, there was a clap of thunder and he was standing on High Table level, his normal self again. A woman appeared beside him. At least it looked to be a woman. Her clothing made it difficult to tell. She was cloaked from head to foot in a white, Arabic haik. Even her eyes were veiled. Jervis squirmed nervously. Sundown reached out and touched him on his bare leg.
The chanting began: "HAIL, SALADIN! HAIL, MASTER! ALL HAIL!"
Saladin reached his arm upwards. The sword, the shield, and the chain of crimson stones levitated off him towards the top of the domed hall. As they vanished as if into the Night's Sky, he embraced his escort. She threw off her cloak and kissed him on the lips. The cheers quieted immediately. Were the people of Cabalarkon sucking in their collective breath, were they shocked by what they had just seen, or were they simply stunned by the woman herself? Probably the last.
She was undeniably as statuesque as any Utopian woman in the Weirdom. Broad at the shoulder, tight in the breasts, waist and hips, she was wearing a diaphanous outfit as white as her skin and so clinging it was difficult to tell where the outfit stopped and the skin began. A white skull-cap covered all of her hair. Two rabbit ears of cloth stretched out of her mid-length skirt, hid her breasts, and were tied around the back of her neck. That was it, no shoes, leggings, jewellery, makeup, nor any other ornamentation. Clearly, she was the perfect compliment to the Master. If he was the black god, she was the white goddess.
"Finally figured out why I'm holding onto you so tightly, Jerry?" due to contact with Murray's leg, the not-so-blind Creature of the Cosmos queried sardonically.
Murray grunted in understanding. "Didn't think it had anything to do with love, Johnny."
"Not on my part it doesn't"
"Nor on mine. At least not any more."
The awkward pause passed and, perhaps fortunately, the tumult grew so deafeningly loud no one but Sundown heard Jervis Murray gag on his mashed potatoes.
So, is this yet another plot portent? Got a horny Murray, who is truly horny
when he's in Dervish-mode, not getting what he wants and that cad, Saladin Devason,
not only getting what he wants but what the possibly bewitched, probably demonized,
yet ever so bewitching and, in her mind, which isn't all her own mind, not at
all bewildered Wilderwitch does as well. Are we heading toward a classical love-triangle
storyline, with a King of Devils and a Queen of Demons thrown in just for good
Hey, this is PHANTACEA on the Web!
9. "The Disappearing Brigade"
An awful lot of questions come up during Weird-9.
Something else, rather some one else, who apparently does as well is the fellow
who always talks in big-print. He
doesn't appear all that much in the various story sequences but there wouldn't
be a 'pH-Webworld' without him. After all, he's a Headworld named
Cerebrus was wrenched out of oblivion as much by an unaccountable fear as
by the droplets of blood plopping into the liquid in which his entire body
was submerged. Like the Diver he felt no need to breathe; during his twenty-five
years in Limbo he had never felt any need to breathe either. Then again he
did not have a body in Limbo. Did now, though -- a useless one. Next to useless,
make that. He opened his eyes.
The visage staring down at him could only be described as Satanic. The scarlet-skinned
man was entirely naked and playing with himself. He had a knotty erection
much longer than the horns protruding out of either side of his forehead.
Except for a thick, tail-like tuft of hair growing out of the back of his
skull, his gnarly head was shaved. His ears were peaked and pierced, though
he wore no earrings. In addition to the ponytail he had a thin moustache and
a thick, forked goatee. His right arm was cut off just below the elbow. It
was from this stump that the blood dripped into the tub of Cathonic Fluid
within which Cerebrus was immersed.
His two eyes bore through Cerebrus, constricting his very soul. That's what
gave him away. One of his eyes was in his forehead. Him again he thought
-- the demon he saw inside the Master when he was making love to Wilderwitch
while, at the same time, a dream-cast Trigregos Diver was launching the illusionary
assault on the Weirdom from out of the Ghostlands. Miserable Moloch must be
here to finish me off now that I can't do anything about it.
So, in Cyborg Cerebrus do we have the first name to add to our list of disappearing
Brigade members since we lost track of the Elemental Twins during the Launch Web Wheaties? Answer's "no". Or at least "not yet". Why
am I answering questions instead of leaving it to you, the reader, to go through
the chapter and find out for yourself? In other words, why am I being so generous? Because, truth told, I need to insert a gold-mining box
taken from Weird-9 right about
now. To repeat, here's the crux of all this Weirdness:
Beneath the citadel aspect of the Great Palace complex one chamber,
only one, held just a pair of coffins. In by far the most ancient of
the two, covered with Cathonic Fluid, as Cerebrus was next to him and
all the former yet sometimes still thinking Masters throughout the Catacombs
of the Sleepers were, lay Cabalarkon.
The very nearly impossibly old being, who loved company, was born on
the First Weirworld. Initially a Utopian scientocrat whose specialty
was genetics, he was brought to the Whole Earth in the Sedonshem some
650 years before the Genesea. Centuries later, though still in pre-Dome
days, the Citadel of the Thinkers was built to honour as well as cover
him. Reason for that was, along with the Dual Entities some two hundred
thousand light years earlier, he had helped create the Moloch Sedon,
the progenitor of the devazur race and all the evil that followed in
Around this time every year he had a visitor, one whose company he
did not enjoy.
One could safely assume Cerebrus did not enjoy his visitation either. Wasn't
the only one. Which is what, after the bodies were counted and those that could
be were revived, provoked Saladin Devason to make the proclamation quoted in
the overall synopsis of Weirdness.
But the Moloch Sedon also wasn't the only one to pop by this Zmas night beneath
the Citadel of the Thinkers. D-Brig discovers who else did, or appears to have,
just after they put Ringleader (Harry Zeross) to bed -- in yet another tub
of Cathonic Fluid,
the same remarkable substance preserving the existence, the unlife if you prefer,
of Cabalarkon and Cerebrus.
The Untouchable Diver, Radiant Rider, the Kronokronos Supreme and Gentleman
Jervis Murray stayed behind. They had almost neglected to give Cerebrus the
best of the season. Akbarartha, as effortlessly as Devason had the lid onto
Harry's hopefully only temporary resting place, lifted the heavy stone slab
off Cerebrus's equivalent. It was not David Ryne inside, although it looked
like him. It was Saul Ryne who greeted them.
"Be seeing you," gurgled Magnifico.
The acknowledged deviant -- who may not have been related
to Saladin Devason by blood but, in a spiritual sense, was the Master's half-brother
in that the same devil, Pyrame Silverstar, was possessing their respective
mothers when they were conceived -- dropped the lid back onto the sepulchre
in shock. He and his fellows exchanged nervous glances. "Was that who
I thought it was?" Akbar asked no one in particular. "Or was Cerebrus
just playing with our minds, making some sort of asinine farewell jest?"
"It certainly felt more like Saul than David," confirmed Gloriella
No, Cyborg Cerebrus doesn't disappear in Weird-9.
Four others do, though. So, who got rid of them? Who
got rid of Radiant Rider, Wildman Dervish Furie, Kronokronos Akbarartha, and the
Untouchable Diver? Was it one of the four D-Brig members who didn't go away?
Was it Blind Sundown, Raven's Head, Wilderwitch, or Cerebrus himself? Was it
D-Brig's two missing members, Sea Goddess or Airealist, acting from far-off
Lathakra, assuming they're
still there? Would any of D-Brig, even the Witch, get rid of their own? Would
any of D-Brig, let alone four of them at once, just simply up and leave without
Might it have been the Trigregos Triplets, another set of Trigregos Triplets, Trigregos
Themselves? Could it have been Akbar and Sal's
devic half-mother, Moon's Angel, the Thanatoids' Haunted Angel, the Demon Lilith, the Moloch Sedon? How about Wilderwitch's Daughter, Magnifico non-Munched, Aranyani non-Ryne? Had to be Saladin Devason, right? Or Mel-Illuminatus, acting on behalf of
her twin brother, Demios Sarpedon? Unless
she was acting on behalf of the Master of Weir. Answers are all here, in Weird-9.
Well, most of them are!
10."Fat Auntie Wildie"
Asked a lot of questions toward the end of last time up's synopsis, didn't
I? Said most of the answers could be found in Weird-9
-- and they were. So was an episode involving one of disappearing D-Briggers
that, now that you've had the opportunity of reading it for yourself, I can
safely draw your attention to:
There was an open wood fire on the platform between-space. A
hefty woman probably in her mid to late thirties was sitting on it cross-legged
and holding something he could not quite make out close to her breasts. Woman
had moderately short, crinkled black hair, a ruddy complexion, and seemed
rather more chubby than was either attractive to him, and he liked large women,
or healthy for her. She could have been Maori, an aboriginal from New Zealand,
though she had no facial markings. Something about her was disturbing familiar
so he flipper-kick-propelled himself a tad nearer.
She was dressed professionally. Clearly had enough money to afford a good
tailor. Looked like she got her fashion sense from watching American-made
television programs. Either that or she took her look from newscasts featuring
female anchor persons, most of whom he had judged from what little television
he watched in Vancouver would disappear if they turned sideways; something
this woman was in absolutely no danger of doing.
She had on a plaid skirt, matching leggings or leotards rather than nylons,
high boots, a dark jacket and a front-buttoning blouse, both of which he could
now see were open. Was suckling a little girl, maybe two or three years old.
Child did not have arms. She had wings!
"Holy Hell!" screamed the woman, reflexively wrapping her jacket
around the child's head. 'Holy Hell', he reflected, was as good a name for
this ungodly place between-space as any.
"Wait!" he shouted, almost too late. "Who are you?"
"I am Phaedra!" Yet another good name, he mused, as she faded from
So that confirms what you've no doubt been expecting ever since we followed Weirdness to the Weirdom. Wilderwitch's
Daughter, Fey Woman, Phaedra between-space, Faith McBride on the Outer Earth, has now officially
joined pH-Webworld's cast of characters. But what's she doing
with a child who has wings for arms? How could a child have wings for arms anyhow?
Fraid that's for the future file.
Now that Fey's arrived, will Magnifico non-Munched
(Saul Ryne, the Magnificent Psycho) and Aranyani non-Ryne
Nightingale be very far behind? For once the answer isn't for the future file.
In PHANTACEA-fact look no farther than Weird-10 for it. Or any farther for the answer to the twains-question
posed in the overall synopsis
of Weirdness months ago now. Harbingers of more to come, I'd say --
though not so much more to come in Weirdness. That's because we're
just about done with the Month-1 aspect of After Limbo.
Rest of the answer as to who got rid Radiant Rider, Wildman Dervish Furie,
and Kronokronos Akbarartha stems from the above encounter between-space.
Still don't know where the two Zeross girls sent them, though. Or do we? Not
really, but Wilderwitch does discover who put Persephone and Athena up to it.
And, much to her surprise, much to the surprise of Blind Sundown and Mel-Illuminatus
as well, it wasn't the deviant of a Sedonic scoundrel they expected it to be. Here's an interesting excerpt; one more than moderately abreviated, I should
After drying himself, he sprayed on some scent that his little mother had
given him a year or so before he permanently exiled her and went into the
bedroom. Cynthia, the name Wilderwitch answered to when in bed with him, was
already sleeping. The poor woman had been on the verge of death when Ringleader
brought her to his Weirdom less than a month earlier. Her recovery had been
nothing less than phenomenal. He pulled back the covers. She turned towards
him. He gasped. It wasn't her.
"You bastard! You know me, don't you? Why'd you make me do it?"
"Do what?" The Master strove mightily to keep himself under control.
It would not take much more than a clap of the hands and he could have this
Maenad on her knees. Much more of this outrage and in ten seconds he would.
Even if, as he now realized, Fey was Cynthia-Wilderwitch's daughter. Despite
the rather extreme weight difference the resemblance was too strong for her
to be otherwise.
"Don't play the fool with me, Saladin. You're no inbred imbecile like
most of your people, no clone like the majority of your Trinondevs. You
used an eye-stave, your very own Speaking Stick, to bring me to heel. Used
it to mesmerize Melina's kids into sending Diver, Rider, Murray, and the old
man away. And let me tell you why. Because they're beyond you; too powerful,
plain and simple. Sundown and Raven are too but they're different. They're
deva-slayers, cathonitizers at the very least. And they promised to make you
more solar spears and ravenheads. Then there's the Witch, my mother and, in
comparatively short order, the mother of your child ..."
"Of course she is. Admit it, asshole. You couldn't take the competition.
Your jealousy blinded you. My mother's a very bad Anthean but, by God, she
was not only going to have your child she was going to stay here and help
you raise it. You didn't have to use me to get rid of her friends. Where'd
you have them sent?" Fey had been stalking closer and closer to him.
She was leaning over and breathing in his face now. That was about as far
as dignity would allow.
"Listen, woman, all of what you've said is as interesting as it's instructive.
I'd heard your mother was a creature of unpredictable moods but no one ever
said she was mad. You, however, are a complete lunatic!" He clapped his
hands together. "BEGONE!"
She looked at him confusedly. "What did you say?" He did it again.
She was still there. How was this possible? "What are you applauding
for? This is no time to be cheering."
"I'm the Master of Weir," he clapped his hands together one more
time. She still stood there, eyeing him in a perplexed way. "I tell you
to begone you should be gone!"
"Sorry, my fault." She was gone.
Even allowing for the editing, you can probably figure
out where we might be heading; not to mention who was masquerading as Fey Woman.
Of course a lot can happen in nine months but, given this is PHANTACEA on the Web, a lot more can still happen in Month One -
And, believe me, it does!
"I could kill you," [one ghost said to other ghost].
"A ghost killing a ghost? Don't be absurd!"
"Does seem a mite farfetched," [the first ghost said to the second
ghost.] "So, tell me, how come you're still around? I mean, from what
I took from Saladin's mind, [the Moloch] Sedon drags you with him wherever he goes across
the cosmos. Why does he bother?"
"Hey, he loves me."
The devil you say, [the first ghost thought.] If small-case sedons on either side of the Dome were necessary to maintain the Cathonic Zone, you're
what keeps large-case Sedon alive.
Which, not withstanding the brief and at least for the time being comparatively
inconsequential return of Star Dark and Lakshmi of Lemuria to these Web
Wheaties, leads us directly to Weird-11.
Speaking Stick, eh? Didn't one of the 17 (make that
18) Signallers who came to Centauri Island during the later stages of the 'Launch' Tetralogy have a Speaking Stick? I believe he did. Believe also he got crunched
by Sharkczar, shortly before Yati, the Dragon of Byron, ate the just-named
mostly mandroid monstrosity in Aka Godbad City; whereupon All ate him, Yati, along with a bunch of other Byronics (including, as we discovered in the dregs of the Web Wheaties' serial, apparently not quite all of APM All-Eyes).
Might that suggest where Signal
System got its technology; besides the Conquering Christ, that is? Believe
it does. Magnifico, Aran, Star Dark and Lakshmi aren't the only returnees from 'Launch' either.
What does the following sequence suggest?
The boat from Godbad, via Apple Isle, finally arrived in the Weirdom of Cabalarkon
on the first of Yamana, what would be New Years Day in the Outer Earth's Western World. By
then Wilderwitch had decided she would tough it out in the Weirdom. Saladin
was not all that bad. Then Melina Zeross told her what he'd done to Gomez
Niarchos, Godbad's ambassador.
"Why couldn't he have just said no?"
"He did. It was my idea to have him cut off his head."
"Oh, don't worry about Gomez. He and I go way back. And he's been dead
since the Sixties!"
Name Niarchos might not ring any bells but Mel having his head chopped off,
apparently just for fun, should remind you of Cromwell Necator's Valhallans from the 'Centauri
Island' Web Wheaties cereal.
Does that mean Demios Sarpedon has managed
to convince the Fatman, Alpha Centauri, that the most modern civilization on
the Head should add the most ancient one to its list of satellite states? Oh, probably. But that's for the future file. Got the rest of Weirdness to finish off first.
While a ghost killing another ghost might superficially seem absurd, it might not be quite such a crazy notion when the first ghost has a great killer
for a buddy.
That night, Blind Sundown came through the Grey into the Catacombs of the
Sleepers. Lifting the almost impossibly heavy stone lid off Cabalarkon's tomb
was no more effort for him than Cerebrus's had been for OMP-Akbar the night before.
Driving his Solar Spear through the Ultimate Sleeper's heart was even easier.
Certainly isn't any more absurd than a ghost having a reflection. Which, given
Cerebrus had one, albeit howsoever briefly, explains how he came into contact
with a few of Weirdness's earlier cast of characters.
Almost simultaneously in the Weirdom of Archon/Cabala, Pyrame emptied Cosmicaptain
Purandar's pistol into the Copycat-Cabalarkon that had lain there for multi-millennia.
Sedon's Head did not burst out of the Cathonic Dome. Its sudden appearance,
if sudden appearance there was, did not cause a Second Great Flood in the
regions of the Outer Earth's Pacific coastal regions. The original deluge,
the Genesea, did not overwhelm the Hidden Continent. The world did not end.
Clearly even a carefully orchestrated, two-pronged attack on the real Cabalarkon
and its replicate could not kill Sedon.
The Pauper Priestess' companion, Klannit of the Thanatoids, in her mirror-skinned
homonculus, laughed out loud. "Told you this pseudo-voodoo holusbolus
would be a waste of time. Killing Sedon couldn't be that easy. If it was,
the Utopians of Old Weir would have done it probably before you ever existed."
"The plan was perfect, albeit expedient. The execution must have been
off. Use your mirrors to get hold of him again. Find out if something went
"Can't do it. Sundown's blind. My mirrors are useless with him. I had
to use this Cyborg Cerebrus as a medium."
"Get hold of Cerebrus then, though I still find it amazing you can reach
him. He's got to be the first ghost I've ever heard of that reflects in a
"I'll do what I can, pauper, but I don't hold out much hope.
As unbelievable as it may seem, All-Father Sedon could have secrets we have
yet to discover."
More than we, even me, have as well. Not that that means our Anheroic cybernetic
organism of a protagagonist for the last dozen or so series of web-cereals is
going to stop trying. Just means he has to find a better way before he tries
Hours later, Cerebrus had a lot more than an answer to his question. He still
didn't know how to kill the Moloch Sedon but he knew where to start looking
-- the Memory Entity!
And where there's one Entity there should be the other one, right? Might be more than one other as it happens. And, while that too is for
the future file, it's for the immediate future
Next: 'DAMNATION -- YEAR
ONE -- AFTER LIMBO!'
Unless it's 'DIVER
-- THE OUTER EARTHLINGS!'
Note: Many of the characters who appear in these web-serials first appeared in the comic books and/or the
"Phantacea Revisited" graphic novels. Most also appeared in
"Goddess Gambit" or during one of the books making up the epic 'Launch 1980' fantasy trilogy, as per here Jim McPherson's now-concluded, long-ongoing project to novelize the comics.
Hit here for lynx to notes and graphics prepared for 'Nuck-Drags' and here for graphics prepared for 'War-Pox', respectively the first and second full-length novels making up the 'Launch 1980' story cycle. The culminating entry
"Helios on the Moon" was, fittingly released on the 30th of November 2014, to the day and date precisely 34 years after the launching of the Cosmic Express.
Excerpts from all three full-length, multi-character novels can be found via the Main Menu(s) here and here.