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Welcome to a 'Helioddity' Web-Serial Synopsis Page

- Top of Page Search Engine - Phantacea Publications available in print and digitally - Bottom of Page Ordering Lynx -

Phantacea Publications in Print

- The 'Launch 1980' story cycle - 'The Thrice-Cursed Godly Glories' Fantasy Trilogy - The '1000 Days' Mini-Novels - The phantacea Graphic Novels -

The 'Launch 1980' Story Cycle

The War of the Apocalyptics

Front cover of War Pox, artwork by Ian Bateson, 2009

Published in 2009; main webpage is here; ordering lynx are here;

Nuclear Dragons

Nuclear Dragons front cover, artwork by Ian Bateson, 2013

Published in 2013; main webpage is here; ordering lynx are here;

Helios on the Moon

Front cover for Helios on the Moon, artwork by Ricardo Sandoval, 2014

Published in 2014; main webpage is here; ordering lynx are here;

The 'Launch 1980' story cycle comprises three complete, multi-character mosaic novels, "The War of the Apocalyptics", "Nuclear Dragons" and "Helios on the Moon", as well as parts of two others, "Janna Fangfingers" and "Goddess Gambit". Together they represent creator/writer Jim McPherson's long running, but now concluded, project to novelize the Phantacea comic book series.

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'The Thrice-Cursed Godly Glories' Epic Fantasy

Feeling Theocidal

Front Cover for Feel Theo, artwork by Verne Andru, 2008

Published in 2008; main webpage is here; ordering lynx are here

The 1000 Days of Disbelief

Front cover of The Thousand Days of Disbelief, collage prepared by Jim McPherson, 2010

Published as three mini-novels, 2010/11; main webpage is here; ordering lynx for individual mini-novels are here

Goddess Gambit

Front cover for Goddess Gambit by Verne Andru, 2012

Published in 2012; main webpage is here; ordering lynx are here

Circa the Year of Dome 2000, Anvil the Artificer, a then otherwise unnamed, highborn Lazaremist later called Tvasitar Smithmonger, dedicated the first three devic talismans, or power foci, that he forged out of molten Brainrock to the Trigregos Sisters.

The long lost, possibly even dead, simultaneous mothers of devakind hated their offspring for abandoning them on the far-off planetary Utopia of New Weir. Not surprisingly, their fearsome talismans could be used to kill Master Devas (devils).

For most of twenty-five hundred years, they belonged to the recurring deviant, Chrysaor Attis, time after time proven a devaslayer. On Thrygragon, Mithramas Day 4376 YD, he turned them over to his Great God of a half-father, Thrygragos Varuna Mithras, to use against his two brothers, Unmoving Byron and Little Star Lazareme, in hopes of usurping their adherents and claiming them as his own.

Hundreds of years later, these selfsame thrice-cursed Godly Glories helped turn the devil-worshippers of Sedon's Head against their seemingly immortal, if not necessarily undying gods. Now, five hundred years after the 1000 Days of Disbelief, they've been relocated.

The highest born, surviving devic goddesses want them for themselves; want to thereby become incarnations of the Trigregos Sisters on the Hidden Continent. An Outer Earthling, one who has literally fallen out of the sky after the launching of the Cosmic Express, gets to them first ...

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The '1000 Days' Mini-Novels

The Death's Head Hellion

- Sedonplay -

Front cover for The Death's Head Hellion, collage prepared by Jim McPherson, 2010

Published in 2010; main web presence is here; Character Companion starts here; ordering lynx are here;

Contagion Collectors

- Sedon Plague -

Front cover for Contagion Collectors, collage prepared by Jim McPherson, 2010

Published in 2010; main web presence is here; Character Companion starts here; ordering lynx are here;

Janna Fangfingers

- Sedon Purge -

Front cover for Janna Fangfingers, collage prepared by Jim McPherson, 2011

Published in 2011; two storylines recounted side-by-side, the titular one narrated by the Legendarian in 5980, the other indirectly leading into the 'Launch 1980' story cycle; main web presence is here; Character Companion starts here; ordering lynx are here;

In the Year of the Dome 4825, Morgan Abyss, the Melusine Master of the Utopian Weirdom of Cabalarkon, seizes control of Primeval Lilith, the ageless, seemingly unkillable Demon Queen of the Night. The eldritch earthborn is the real half-mother of the invariably mortal Sed-sons but, once she has hold of her, aka Lethal Lily, Master Morgan proceeds to trap the Moloch Sedon Himself.

In the midst of the bitter, century-long expansion of the Lathakran Empire, the Hidden Headworld's three tribes of devil-gods are forced to unite in an effort to release their All-Father. Unfortunately for them, they're initially unaware Master Morg, the Death's Head Hellion herself, has also got hold of the Trigregos Talismans, devic power foci that can actually kill devils, and Sedon's thought-father Cabalarkon, the Undying Utopian she'll happily slay if they dare attack her Weirdom.

Utopians from Weir have never given up seeking to wipe devils off not just the face of the Inner Earth, but off the planet itself. Their techno and biomages, under the direction of the Weirdom of Cabalarkon's extremely long-lived High Illuminary, Quoits Tethys, have determined there is only one sure way to do that -- namely, to infect the devils' Inner Earth worshippers with fatal plagues brought in from the Outer Earth.

Come All-Death Day there are more Dead Things Walking than Living Beings Talking. Believe it or not, that's the good news.

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phantacea Graphic Novels

Forever and Forty Days

- The Genesis of Phantacea -

Front cover of Forever and Forty Days; artwork by Ian Fry and Ian Bateson, ca 1990

Published in 1990; main webpage is here; ordering lynx are here

The Damnation Brigade

- Phantacea Revisited 1 -

Front cover of The Damnation Brigade, artwork by Ian Bateson, retouching by Chris Chuckry 2012

Published in 2013; main webpage is here; ordering lynx are here

Cataclysm Catalyst

- Phantacea Revisited 2 -

Front cover for Cataclysm Catalyst, artwork by Verne Andru, 2013

Published in 2014, main webpage is here; ordering lynx are here

Kadmon Heliopolis had one life. It ended in October 1968. The Male Entity has had many lives. In his fifth, he and his female counterpart, often known as Miracle Memory, engendered more so than created the Moloch Sedon. They believe him to be the Devil Incarnate. They've been attempting to kill him ever since. Too bad it's invariably he, Heliosophos (Helios called Sophos the Wise), who gets killed instead.

On the then still Whole Earth circa the Year 4000 BCE, one of their descendants, Xuthros Hor, the tenth patriarch of Golden Age Humanity, puts into action a thought-foolproof, albeit mass murderous, plan to succeed where the Dual Entities have always failed. He unleashes the Genesea. The Devil takes a bath.

Fifty-nine hundred and eighty years later, New Century Enterprises launches the Cosmic Express from Centauri Island. It never reaches Outer Space; not all of it anyhow. As a stunning consequence of its apparent destruction, ten extraordinary supranormals are reunited, bodies, souls and minds, after a quarter century in what they've come to consider Limbo. They name themselves the Damnation Brigade. And so it appears they are -- if perhaps not so much damned as doomed.

At least one person survives the launching of the Cosmic Express. He literally falls out of the sky -- on the Hidden Continent of Sedon's Head. An old lady saves him. Except this old lady lives in a golden pagoda, rides vultures and has a third eye. She also doesn't stay old long. He becomes her willing soldier, acquires the three Sacred Objects and goes on a rampage, against his own people, those that live.

Meanwhile, Centauri Island, the launch site of the Cosmic Express, comes under attack from Hell's Horsemen. Only it's not horses they ride. It's Atomic Firedrakes!

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Alternative pHlogo prepared by Jim McPherson, 2002


-- Story Synopses --




Gold-Mining for PHANTACEA Factoids
| Cathonic Fluid |

- Double-click to enlarge in a new window -

  1. Old King Kad
  2. Discussing Deviants
  3. Helios In Extremis
  4. Dancing with Devils
  5. Supras Awakening
copyright © Jim McPherson (phantacea)
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6. Helioddity: "Old King Kad"

Kyprian Somata, the Master of Weir in 5938 Year of the Dome (Y.D.), removed a cloth from over what Roxanne born Heliopolis now Kinesis had taken to be a crystal ball. Was actually Pyrame Silverstar's recently severed head. It talked. Told them the His Story of King Kad, the ruler of yet another Trigon, this one an entire country on the faraway planet of New Weir, the Helios-chosen replacement for the original Weirworld.

The His Story of Old King Kad is one of those cautionary tales. Might even be considered a bit of a morality play. Except Helios already knew it wasn't safe to deal with a devil, especially one named Sedon. In fact he still thinks he wiped out the Moloch, the Three Great Gods and every Master Deva then still extant when he had Machine Memory nuke Weirstar.

Oh, he knows the Trigregos Sisters are still around, his Milady Memory uses them to humanize herself. Knows Cabalarkon is as well, they're drinking buddies. Also knows he's dying, of old age. Will be the first time he has died of natural causes and is quite content to go that way because it might mean he, along with Trans-Time Trigon and its Mnemosyne Machine innards, doesn't come back in some other time-space place. Give you three guesses who is not so content. (The Three Great Goddess only count as one guess.)

It isn't Helios who makes a deal with the Devil. Isn't Helios who refines, reinvents, Cathonic Fluid such that it might not only preserve his life but render him young again. Really is a shame the Trigregos Sisters did not have enough devic blood between them for it to act as the fixative what makes the de-aging process stop ==>

COMMERCIAL BREAK: Those of you who have 'Forever & 40 Days, the Genesis of PHANTACEA' will know what happens already. For those of you who don't, now's the time to find out. Of course you can still order 4-Ever&40 and find out when it arrives. (Myself, I recommend you do both.)

King Kad's is only one of many a story told within an overall story, that of 'Helioddity'. Isn't the only story told within Odd-6 either. In fact, while you will hear about them nearly wherever you go on the Web, the minuscule PHANTACEA part of it anyhow, Odd-6 is one of the few times the Utopian Cabalarkon and the triplet Trigregos Sisters get to strut their stuff.

Might as well know the ones who did make the deal with the Devil were, in addition to the Great Goddesses, Cabalarkon and Machine Memory. Idea was Sedon would use his blood to fix the fluid and thereby stop Helios de-aging after he reached, say, 25 years old going backwards. Would have worked had he stayed in the tub but he didn't, -- so we know what happened to Helios, Trans-Time Trigon and Machine Memory.

Somewhat to his credit Sedon honoured his part of the deal. Much as he did multiple-thousands of years later when he raised the Cathonic Zone he formed the Sedonshem out of his own essence. Whereupon he rocketed away from New Weirsystem never to return. Took his sons, their relatively few surviving offspring, and Cabalarkon with him.The Three Sisters were left behind, never to be heard from again. As far as the Moloch was concerned they weren't much use any more anyhow, -- the Supernova had sterilized Sedon and the Thrygragos Brothers. Which was why no more so-called Master Devas were ever born. (For future reference do note the 'so-called'.)

Devils eventually arrived on the Whole Earth. Cabalarkon was still with them. By then, though, he was stuck inside a tub of Cathonic Fluid, from which he would never arise. (Although he could be momentarily revived with a judicious donation of, -- what else?) Was now lying in the catacombs beneath the Citadel of the Thinkers, right here in the Weirdom named after him. Which brings us back to our supra-plotline. Told you I'd draw your attention to it when next we came across it.

Cathonic Fluid, distilled Brainrock, was never lost. Conceivably with the fixative of devic blood it could still act as a Fountain of Youth. Of course Master Devas were not exactly lining up to open their veins and thereby rejuvenate any of their mortal enemies. For one thing, eyeorbs, Utopian prison pods, -- what Pyrame Silverstar claimed she invented (which is why she's immune to them) but were more likely devised by her current shell, the Memory Entity, multiple thousands of years earlier in pre-Earth, Old or New Weir days --, kept them out of the Weirdom.

Cathonic Fluid had other uses, though. Was still being used for the main purpose it was invented: To facilitate the cloning process that kept those in Cabalarkon from becoming altogether too inbred to at least look after those who already were too imbecilic to look after themselves. Another was what it had become for Sedon's Utopian father on the long voyage out of New Weirsystem. It suspended animation; kept those placed therein not quite dead.

And that, Pyrame's head explained, was what she wanted it for: To suspend Ulysses Heliopolis' animation. In order to stop him from going to the outside to kill himself before he was even born. To stop him killing either Agenor Heliopolis or his future wife, Argiope Zeross!

Seems Heliosophos is a marked man in January 1938 (which is not yet 5938 YD in some parts of the Head). He's also very much a man in demand. Apparently, when he is occupied by a male Master Deva and Machine Memory is occupied by a female one, should she become pregnant, should she carry the unborn child or children to term, and should she thereupon give birth, then Memory and the possessive devil within her may bear Fourth Generation Devas. Has happened in the relatively recent past, albeit not with Pyrame occupying her.

Recall the Thanatoids of Lathakra: Tantal Thanatos, King Cold, and Methandra, his sister-wife, the Scarlet Seeress, she also of Mythland? They had five sets of twins between 5919 and 5923 Years of the Dome. All ten were devils, the first devils born since Helios had Memory ignite Weirstar. Their names aren't given but their attributes are: Night and Day, the Four Elements and the Four Seasons.

The subject of the Thanatoids comes up when Roxanne tells Kyprian Somata, Pyrame Silverstar and her aunt Clymene, Mystery Might, about the Terrible Twins she met in Rome. Both Kyprian and Pyrame find it intriguing that their names are Aires and Thalassa, that their nicknames are Airhead and Sea Stuff, and that their adoptive father, Raphael D'Angelo, found them alone and abandoned wandering around Rome back in April of 1933, -- which it turns out was the same day (in Antheal 5933 beneath the Dome) the ten Thanatoid Children were supposedly cathonitized by the Byronic Nucleus. Hmmm!

So, Pyrame has come to the Weirdom to get a tub of Cathonic Fluid, within which she intends to dunk Helios, thereby suspending his animation indefinitely and consequently keeping him away from his parents-to-be. The Byronics brought Aquilla the Garuda Hunter to Ap Isle with the implicit okay to kill Helios, if he got in the way. We know Helios is already possessed because no one else can get inside him.

Might the Byronics have figured that out as well? Might they have figured out it isn't Cruel Plathon, the Bull of Mithras? Might they be thinking of insinuating one of their number into Helios while doing a dot-ditto with another of their number into Machine Memory in the hopes of engendering some Fourth Generation Devas of their own? I'd say bet on it.

Pyrame is not about to give up Memory voluntarily and, even hacked apart as she was, probably hasn't, -- certainly Kyprian doesn't think she has and consequently isn't about to let her go. Is intrigued about Thalassa and Aires D'Angelo, though. Might it be time for her to lead a band of Golgotha's Trinondevs outside to check them out? Besides, now that she knows Strife, Kore-Eris, is loose again, her and her Warriors of Weir are pretty much the only ones on either side of the Dome who could do anything about her.

While she's out there it might be worth the time to check out Argiope and Agenor. Heliosophos's future parents would be safe in the Weirdom. Then again if their deaths, the deaths of even one of them, means the Moloch Sedon is never created, well, there are such things as killer witches, aren't there?

When you consider Airhead and Sea Stuff are on Charan's Ark steaming across the Meditteranean to Egypt right about now, all the supra-plotline threads are finally knitting together. Are just a couple of more to add. One of them is Pyrame's other idea about how to keep Helios away from his parents-to-be.

Heliosophos believed his first ever identity, the one he did not so much assume as was given during his first lifetime, was that of Kadmon Heliopolis, the son of Agenor Heliopolis and Argiope nee Zeross. In order to protect Agenor and Bright Face Silverstar hoped to hide them in Djinn's Nebuland.

Was not a bad idea. The Heliodromus of Lazareme had a reputation as an accommodating devil. However, besides the fact, as the Master pointed out to her, she was in no position to put her idea into practise, there were some problems with Pyrame's plan. One was that Djinn may have lost his protectorate on January the Fourteenth on the Outer Earth.

Another's who Djinn's hanging around with nowadays. Scum-coming tuna-tune-soon, the Redstripe Rockfish return of ... Dugong-don't Mississippi-miss it!

7. Helioddity: "Discussing Deviants"

"Delphi and I aren't exactly fishtail-fans of yours, Djinn. Among other things you tautog-tattooed us onto your anchovy-arm and, after we got away, you thornback-threatened to parboil Delphi and serve her to us for diamondback terrapin dinner. Besides, even if we were deadhead-heading the same direction, why would I trust a double-dogfish-dealing devil? Everything I've been tentacle-taught goes agate-against guppy-gobbling-gabbing with, let alone triton-trusting, a damn devazur!"

Shortly thereafter, the Heliodromus of Lazareme says to Fisherwoman:

"Then you have heard more than me, deva-daughter. Though I doubt [Anti-Patriarch] Cain is capable of being raised anew."

As it happens, if Ulysses Heliopolis, 5938's Taurus of Apple Isle, is Heliosophos, the Male Entity, which he apparently is, and if in his first lifetime he was Cain, Slayer of Abel, which he might have been, Djinn could be wrong about that. Could even be wrong about Fish, Scylla Nereid, being a deva-daughter; that is say about her being a deviant.

Then again, in both cases, he might be right. Fish certainly is not wrong when she calls Djinn a devil. He is a Master Deva, a third generational devil and a damn devazur, as she also puts it. Others who were definitely wrong would be those readers of 'The Moloch Manoeuvres' who thought Djinn, Fish, and the latter's psychopomp, fin-winged Delphi, were killed by either [not yet Blind] John Sundown, in Djinn's case, and [not yet saviour-sacrificed in '53] Jesus Mandam, in Fish and Delphi's cases.

What we have here besides, despite what they went through in Manoeuvres, the return of Djinn, Fish and Delphi, is mostly another talking heads chapter akin to Odd-3, Odd-5 and the last one. Except nobody, -- rather, no one-in-three's body --, gets hacked to pieces only to have their severed head keep right on talking. In fact, since the other two main chatterboxes, the two ones on the Inner Earth, are Hot Rox and Saladin Devason, if it weren't for Djinn's presence I might have entitled Odd-7: "Deviants Discussing Deviancy".

Of course there is more than just deviancy discussed by the devil and the three deviants, -- even if the only for sure deviant is Sal (the, in 5938, then 19 year old Master-in-Waiting who, serendipitously enough, also features prominently in this time up's 'Damnation Brigade' sequences, which are set in 5980.) Most of it will be reprised later on in 'Oddity', when it becomes more relevant, so I'll leave it until then before I synoptically redraw your attention to this chapter. Then again, should you want a foretaste of what's coming down the voracious freshwater pike-fish, you could always, um, read it.

In terms of what little action there is in Odd-7, much to Master Kyprian's call-it-cupric annoyance Master-in-Waiting Sal, with the support of Cabalarkon's mostly imbecilic Utopian populace, expels Miracle Maenad, Pyrame-Memory-Lilith and all of what's left of her, from the Weirdom. Although it is not stated explicitly, Devason presumably sends her-it-them back to Apple Isle. Where, just as presumably, the Female Entity's similarly possessed counterpart, Taurus Heliosophos, is in the process of attempting to shuck the devil possessing him such that he can go after his parents-to-be.

As for our Outer Earth threesome: Mandam did hurt Delphi, Fish's porpoise-pussy. Hurt her to the point she's spending all her time between-space. Hurt Fish as well, to the point the Pelagic/Aquatic would prefer to swim to relative safety, and thereafter to report to Master Kyprian directly, rather than chance travelling via her witch-stones through between-space and risk meeting up with foes in better shape than she is right that minute. (Those foes would include, predominantly, Faceless Strife, whom I'm reliably informed, by me, doesn't even appear in'Oddity'.) As for Djinn himself, Sundown did in the devil to the point he needs to possess someone right smartly in order to avoid dissipating altogether. Too bad for Him the Djinn Fish has her vesica piscis stapled into her navel such that he can't possess her.

That devil, that deviant and that fin-winged dolphin are heading to Aegean Trigon. Male and Female Entities, together with their devils, are on Apple Isle. The most reliable way between them is the Kore Gap. On one side of the Dome it is found on ..., whereas, on the other side, it is found on ... (Who said: "Ne'er the tweens shall meet"? Might it have been me?)

8. Helioddity: "Helios In Extremis"

Recall this exchange between Sorciere (Solace Sunrise) and Ophiomedea (Medea Annulis always of the Ararats) from early on in 'The Moloch Manoeuvres'?

"Forewarned is forearmed."

"Come back with four arms, Nihilist, and I'll learn surgery."

"That's Annulis, girl. And I will be back. Mark me on that!"

Ophiomedea still hasn't come back to the Outer Earth. What she did instead was send her lamia, Neith and Lathe, back with Cybele St Synne, who was of course possessed by Strife at the time. The other thing she did was seek comfort (as opposed to solace, which would not have been healthy for her if it was spelled with a Capital-S) in bed with Taurus Ulysses Heliopolis and his kinky 3-Thing, Pyrame-Lilith-Memory (Miracle Maenad).

Turns out what had been a 'menage a trois' (make that a 'menage a six', Miracle being a 3-thing whereas the Taurus, possessed as he was by 'the Judge', was a 2-Thing and Medea just a solitary madwoman) did not become a 'menage a deux' when Miracle Memory was away getting dismembered in the Weirdom of Cabalarkon. Rather, it became more of a 'menage a quatre'. None of the 4-parts were the Judge, however. Rather again, the Taurus was taken over by the Byronic, Damon Goldenrod, while Ophiomedea was similarly occupied by his breed-sister, APM (All-Eyes, Aphropsyche Morningstar). And if you think that's complicated, well, we're just getting started.

Sex is complicated stuff. And not just in PHANTACEA. Consider what Hot Rox has to do in order for her and her Aunt Clymene (Mystery Might) to get back to the Outer Earth without using the Kore Gap. Actually maybe you shouldn't consider it. (Still, since it's one of the few times we come across Tvasitar Smithmonger, you might consider reading it.) Other point to be made in this regard is that it turns out Medea's pregnant (again, she's already had a boy, the Summoning Child Apsyrtus Annulis, and three girls, all of whom will be along as 'Heliodyssey' progresses.)

So how is it that Byronics can act in Corona City, Cruel, Kind or Indifferent Plathon's inviolable protectorate? As was detailed in Odd-4, it's apparently because Aquilla the Hunter was severely shot full of deliterious sleep darts by Silver Arrow Sagitta while ostensibly on Theopolis Hill paying his devotional respects to his Garuda God, Djerridam Ruin, Byron's Bowman. Since Theopolis Hill is also under Plathon's aegis, if the Garuda Summoning Child dies then the Bull of Mithras will forfeit the rights to self-determination he acquired under the Thrygragon Compact. Could even be cathonitized, which is not something Plathon desires anywhere near as much as he desires Miracle Memory. That is to say he desires Miracle when he's possessing the Taurus. Which is also why Goldenrod was in the Taurus and why All-Eyes went for Medea. Seems everyone wants Fourth Generation devic offspring the same as the Thanatoids of Lathakra.

So the devilish Bull made a deal with the devilish Byronics such that he wouldn't oppose them acting in Corona City. Still isn't a guarantee the Byronics won't cathonitize him anyways but, fortunately for him, Miracle Memory returns from Cabalarkon in time to save his bully bacon. She's come back with Cleopatra's Tub, the vat of Cathonic Fluid she intended to stick the Taurus in such that he wouldn't be able to break away from the devil usually possessing him and thereafter get beyond the Dome in order to kill his parents-to-be. Guess who gets stuck inside it instead? Sort of goes without saying who manages to get outside as well, doesn't it?

Should mention that someone else pops by Ap Isle's Theopolis Hill intending to journey through Kore's Hell via the aforesaid Kore Gap to Aegean Trigon. That someone would be Kyprian Somata, the Master of Weir. She's with a full entourage of Trinondevs, as led by skull-faced Golgotha, the fellow who ever so hospitably hacked up Miracle Memory when she went to Cabalarkon in search of the also aforesaid Cleo's Tub of Cathonic Fluid in Odd-5. Master wants to go outside for two reasons. First is to check out Aires and Thalassa D'Angelo, whom she fears might be Aires and Thalassa Thanatos, the Fourth Generation devic offspring of the Thanatoids of Lathakra, once Sedon's Horn, who may have got away from the Byronics back in April of '33. Other is to try and locate Granny Garuda's regalia. We know where Airhead and Sea Stuff are and we know who has Granny's feathers. Might they be in the same place? Might indeed.

That place isn't Aegean Trigon. That's where Fisherwoman (Scylla Nereid) and devilfish Djinn the jinn (now calling himself Ghoster) have finally arrived, however. Isn't where Kyprian gets to, though. Fact is she's intercepted and imprisoned by Plathon, in a distinctly cruel mood by now, within a Tholos temple on Theopolis Hill. What the Bull of Mithras wants the Trinondevs to bring back in one of their eyeorb prison pods, in order to secure their Master's release, is Divine Coueranna, Kore-Concord, the devic Goddess of Apple Isle who's been missing for something like 90 years. And why has Fish been trying to return to the Head? To warn Master Kyprian about Strife of course. Might Strife, Kore-Discord, be Divine Coueranna? On the other hand, might Kore-Concord be the source of Clymene's mysterious might? Wouldn't want to say, would I?

I'll leave you with a brief note with respect to the PHANTACEA Mythos. As I sometimes do, for purposes PHANTACEA I've made a slight alternation to the Cretan Cycle of Myths. In the Cretan cycle Europa, whence the continent, had three sons by Olympian Zeus. They were Minos, Rhadamanthys and Sarpedon. In time they divided Crete in three, with Minos ruling the Knossos area in the north and west, Rhadamanthys the Phaistos area in the south, and Sarpedon the eastern area where the ruins of both Malia and Zakros are still being uncovered.

By calling themselves Malanthean Minoans, Black Rose Rogues, the Etocretan Extremists of Agenor Heliopolis have as good as acknowledged the existence of a King Minos. Let's call him an Earth-born human then. As for bad Rhad, well, we already know he's a devil (a fallen angel extraterrestrial). In fact readers of 'The Trigregos Gambit' will have realized its Smiling Fiend is Pyrame's pal, 'the Judge'. So what's the deal with Sarpedon?

As a group of no doubt deva-loving worshippers gathered to stare, a dozen experienced, black-as-midnight Trinondevs came out of the Ghost House in the Theopolis of Apple Isle. Like the cool professionals they were, they surrounded the Tholos while their leader, Golgotha Nauroz, examined its insides for booby traps. A few minutes later, three alabastrine white Utopian women and a young Trinondev came out of it. These were Kyprian Somata, who despite Nauroz' objections had journeyed with them through the Grey, her great granddaughter, Morgianna, and the Sarpedon Summoning Twins, Demios and Melina.

The Sarpedons were not there because they were Morg's closest friends, though they were that. He was on his first mission as a Trinondev Warrior-in-Waiting [read apprentice Elite] whereas she was an apprentice Illuminary here in hopes of seeing history in the making. Even that was not the primary reason they were invited along, -- it was because of their family's ancient history. Thirty-five hundred years earlier a Sarpedon was Master of the Weirdom of External Crete!

As noted particularly in Odd-3 and Odd-5, Utopians of Weir are an altogether different sort of extraterrestrial than devils. Sooth said Utopians exist primarily to destroy devazurs. In Morgianna, Demios and Melina we've three more Summoning Children to add to Oddity's collection of same, one that already includes Aquilla the Hunter, Roxanne Heliopolis now Kinesis, Argiope "Bright Face" Zeross and Sorciere. Must be time to bring back into the picture another dozen or so we haven't come across since 'The Moloch Manoeuvres'.

9. Helioddity: "Dancing with Devils"

Charan's Ark, known to some of irreverent Summoning Children as the Noah Two, is a massive, sea-going luxury yacht outfitted like a battleship. It left Rome the same day as events described in the conclusion to 'The Moloch Manoeuvres', which is to say it left on the Fourteenth of January 1938. On board, besides its crew, are the Great Man, Loxus Abraham Ryne, his family, many of his friends, members of their families and his hired guns. Abe Ryne is the partriarch of the Illuminated Faith of Xuthros Hor, -- Hor being the Biblical Noah, hence the Ark's nickname. His family includes his wife, Eden Nightingale, their three children, Aranyani also Nightingale, age 4, and the twins, David and Saul, both 8, and his nephew, Jesus "Jess" or "Jesse" Mandam, a Summoning Child.

Summoning Children are 17-year olds, or near enough, born as a result of the Summoning of 1920. One of them looks a lot like Jesse, the Great Man Himself, his almost 5-years' dead twin sister, Mary Magdalene, Jesse's mother, and their Summoning-killed father, Noah Charan Ryne. That'd be Virginia "Ginny" Mannering. Miss Mannering doesn't know who her parents are; rather, she didn't know until Rome when she learned they were Olympias Sangati Kinesis, who died having her, and Bleda Sangati, Olympias' one-time brother-in-law. That was why she was stalked by Etzel Sangati, Count Molech, Bleda's son by, well, it probably wasn't Rhea Sangati, Olympias' mom, the woman who brought him up. That's because Count Molech was a Blood Beast Prime, a Vampire Maker. Which means his birth mother must have died giving him birth. (Note the 'was': rumour has it there's a corpse being kept in the Ark's state-of-the-art freezer system below decks.)

Besides Jesse and Ginny there are around 12 other Summoning Children on the Ark. I say around because there's a Summoning Child flying above the Ark. It appears to be an eagle. For the record, the other Summoning Children are Aires "Air" D'Angelo, Will Tombstone, John Sundown, Jervis "Jerry" Murray, Immanuel Dark, Andrew "Droid" Dulles, Hadrian Dis L'Orca, Maxwell Dre'Ath, Brunhild von Alptraum, Tanith von Blut, Camille Dugas and Thalassa "Sea" D'Angelo. The one in the Garuda regalia is Argiope "Bright Face" Zeross. But you know all that already. Or, if you don't, you just haven't been paying attention.

Might as well list some of the significant adults besides Abe Ryne and Eden Nightingale onboard the Ark while I'm at it. The skipper's Diomedes Aremar. His wife, Candace, is the Ark's "mom". She isn't the chief cook and bottlewasher but she does oversee the chief cook and makes him wash the bottles. Her sister's Camille Dugas. Diego Rivera (not that Diego Rivera) is Ginny's foster father. Joshua and Marea Murray are Jerry's parents. Actually Marea's Jerry's stepmother, -- but what difference does that make?

Berchta von Alptraum (born Faust always Volsung) is Brunhild's mother and Tanith's aunt. She's brought with her the bastard, Sigurd Lancz, whom she believes is her child by Donar Lancz. Sigurd is the only other preteen aboard besides the Ryne children. In addition to Brunhild, Tanith and Sigurd, Berchta's more or less responsible for Dark, Dulles and Dis L'Orca. That's because Dark and Dulles's fathers work for Berchta's husband, the Baron, while Dis L'Orca, whose parents were killed during the Spanish Civil War, lives at the Baron's Hamburg home.

Ted Mayhew is Ryne's factotum. He's in charge of the hired guns, one of whom is Len Starrus, and at least nominally responsible for Aires, Tombstone, Sundown and, to a lesser degree, Jervis Murray. Maxwell Dre'Ath is onboard because he wanted to be. So is Thalassa. Mnemosyne "Memory" D'Angelo, Airhead and Sea Stuff's aunt, is their adult; Max because she's sleeping with him, Air and Sea because she's related to them by adoption, if nothing else. She also has what might be described as a proprietary interest in Ginny. They've certainly been through some interesting times together. Including, when Ginny was still a preteen, a few years in a harem!

Memory of the Angels is a Lovely Lady Afrite, the Sisterhood named after the Love Goddess Aphrodite, to whom she dedicates her lovemaking. As Maxwell Dre'Ath puts it: Memory, whose family were ardent Roman Catholics, considered having sex holier, not to mention more filling, than going to communion. She's the same age, to the day, as Eden Nightingale. She's gorgeous. Aremar's crewmen and Mayhew's hired guns, the older mercenaries anyhow, can't keep their eyes off her. She's also trouble. Brought a cat on board the Ark. Which makes her a witch, right. Not necessarily, -- though the cat, whose name is Bast, may well be a demon!

None of which has anything to do with dancing with devils. That occurs on Aegean Trigon.

"What is it, mistress?" [Djinn the jinn required.]

Shot of a painting spotted in a hostel in Ouro Preto, Brazil, by Jim McPherson, 2007"Open your damn eyes, Ghostie," Fisherwoman exclaimed, suddenly no longer fishifying. "All three of them! The omphalos is surrounded by stepping stones. And we're inside the circle." They started appearing off the agates around them: two by two, man and woman, holding hands: Clymene and Pelops Atreides, Roxanne and Alexandros Kinesis, Angelo and Megaera Zeross, Artemis and Nester Hyperenor, -- though they were undeniably in Sagitta and Sagittarius mode now --, and, lastly, Agenor Heliopolis with Sorciere, Solace Sunrise.

Agenor was holding the Metis' hand but he was also holding a gun to her temple. He was not the only one with a gun. In fact, all except Clymene, who a mite mysteriously seemingly had no need for one, and Angelo Zeross, Ringleader, Ringkeeper, who disdained the things, had one too. Except for Agenor all the others were pointing theirs at Fisherwoman and the genie. "Sorry, Fish," apologized Sorciere. "They killed Granny. Guess that means I am a neophyte after all."

"Don't bother calling out Delphi, Nereid," warned Mystery Might. "This is my Circe-Circle, my own personal Little Shelter, -- what your three-eyed buddy might call a protectorate. And I will control what comes into it."

May also be wrong, Clymene. Because what does come into it is:

Though her Circe-Circle was as good as her protectorate out here, she could not control what came into it through the nexus from Big Shelter. The Taurus of Apple Isle burst out of the omphalos gateway and went straight for Agenor Heliopolis. He was hellbent for murder. On murdering his father yet-to-be! Then, suddenly, he started dancing, leaping up and down from foot to foot. Sagitta and Sagittarius were prepared for him, had already been paid too, -- except they fired their guns into the air.

The others but for Agenor emptied theirs similarly. Sorciere had him in a headlock, one twist and she would snap his neck. Then she twirled him around, kissed him on the lips, and let him lead her into a waltz. Ghoster was no longer there, was back inside Fish. Which was why, when Angelo Zeross pointed at her, she broke the Hellstone circle with a swipe of her feet then walked towards him, entirely unaffected by whatever had hold of the others.

"Mind telling me how you're doing that, Rings?" Everyone but the two of them were prancing about like puppets on a string.

"I'd say you just answered your own question, Scylla." Zeross was one of the few who called her by her given name.For the first time she noticed that he was wearing at least one ring on every one of his fingers, including both his thumbs. She knew he had found a bag of the things during the Summoning, -- that was why folks called him Ringleader --, but only now did she have a glimmering of what was in them.

In terms of Odd-9's structure, its first half serves to reintroduce us to those on the Ark while its second half, including the dancing more so because of than with devils, makes up a culmination of events that has been occurring on either side of the Kore Gap for most of the book thus far. Yes, there is a big battle scene, which serves to remind us just how impressive the Etocretan Extremists have become, but Oddity's only half over and we can't go killing off anyone yet. Consequently someone has to act to as peacemaker and settle everyone else down.

That someone does! Then Miracle Memory pops back into the picture, along with Ophiomedea, our latest threesome of Summoning Children and Golgotha's Trinondevs of Weir. I'd say: 'Look out Ark!', and I guess I just did, but I'd rather leave you with a reminder of just what Sorciere is capable of doing. It happens just before Angie releases his devils for purposes Danse Macabre and everyone except he and Fish get all terpsichorean. [Terpsichore's the Muse of Dancing. In Greek Mythology her mother's, well, we've gone over that already, haven't we?]

"Um, Agenor," said Clymene, realizing something had just gone very wrong. "Maybe we better hear her out."

"She's right," said Artemis-Sagitta. Her gun was now pointing at him. Rather, it was pointing at Sorciere, who was still standing beside him. With his gun still resting against her temple. "You weren't supposed to unhand her."

"I've a gun at her head, Art. She isn't going anywhere."

"Afraid you're right about that too," acknowledged Sagitta. "She's already gone!"

Oh, did I mention the name of that someone? Why is it I keep forgetting to?

10. Helioddity: "Supras Awakening"

Odd-10's title tells you that the Summoning Children aboard the Ark are finally realizing their Summoning Heritage, that is to say they're finally developing into full-fledged supranormals. They're not the only ones, though some of Memory of the Angels' Circean abilities were shown in 'The Moloch Manoeuvres'. So were abilities of a few of the others: Ginny Gemstone, Dervish Furie, Kid Killjoy, Telemax, Torches for Arms, and the Terrible Twins to name a few sausages. One who isn't, one who might not have any supra-talents even though he claims to be the first born of the Summoning Children is Jesus Mandam. Jess finds this frustrating. Then he finds Thalassa D'Angelo in bed with him and for a time all is right with the world.

Sea's twin, Aires, has been busy himself, bedding Camille ("Icicles for Arms") Dugas. Which leads to an unexpected development on her part. As Ted Mayhew puts to the Great Man: "We've an airhead in the hold."

Then Nightingale and the Baroness saw Loxus, Ted, Diomedes, Leonardo Starrus, and a few of their men go down below guns already drawn. They followed; were caught up short by what they saw. Almost as if she had a magnet embedded in her cranium, Camille Dugas, the Summoning Aged younger sister of Captain Aremar's wife, Candace, was apparently adhering to the metallic roof of the hold by her skull!

Then there's the 3-Dees, Dark, Dulles and Dis L'Orca. They've decided to check out that rumour mentioned in Odd-9 and, along with Max, Telemax, whom we know from Manoeuvres has all the tellies, get stuck in the Ark's freezer. Won't tell you what abilities the 3-Dees develop in order to escape the trap. Won't tell you what happens to the rat Memory manages to transfer herself into body and soul. Won't tell you how Jesse ends up with his casts in need of replastering. Won't even tell you what happens when Camille goes all balloon-brain again. Will excerpt it, however.

"Up here!" shrieked a voice from topside. It was Will Tombstone. When they reached the upper deck it looked like it was too late. A distant figure, had to be Camille Dugas, was floating high into the sky.

"I'll get her," volunteered Aires. Sundown clamped a hand on his shoulder. The Aerod did not appear, his skin did not change to blue, he did not become his element.

"What's that?" shouted his twin sister. What it was, appeared to be anyhow, was a huge bird, a grey eagle, flying towards Camille. Then a perhaps even more amazing thing happened. With its beak, it took hold of the lofting-away Summoning Child's clothes and flew her back towards the ship. Whereupon Sundown, letting go of Aires, took her by the ankles, hauled her down and pinned her the deck. The eagle took off just as Airealist started raging at him.

"You neutralized my abilities."

So even John Sundown now has a supranormal talent, an exclusion zone or aura that neutralizes the abilities of other supranormals. The homicidal totem-crow we saw in action a few times during 'Manoeuvres' doesn't count. PHANTACEA fact of the matter is Sundown doesn't seem to know anything about it. Similarly, as yet Camille and Brunhild don't seem to recall their times with Icicles or Torches for Arms either. I'm sure that will change in due course.

In terms of the Summoning Children, except for the ones still ignorant of all that happened to them in Rome that only leaves Jesse and Tanith von Blut, whom we learn is pregnant, possibly (though not for certain) with Count Molech's son, without any noticeable supra-talents. While that may or may not change in due course I'd be tempted to say: 'Look out Argo!', and I guess I just did, but we haven't got that far along yet. Besides, I'd rather correct an earlier statement to the effect that Strife doesn't appear in'Oddity'. Seems that might not be strictly accurate, -- because Berchta von Alptraum certainly does see and far-speak with someone who can't be Ophiomedea, can she?

There was no mistaking the dark-eyed, crinkly-haired, thirty-three year old Slav. What was odd about her was her skin seemed a bloody red.


"That will do for now, sister. What can I do for you?"

But that's for another book!

Helioddity: Chapters 1-5

Helioddity: Chapters 11-15

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