Sun Strike and Valkyrie Maiden
Our hero is grabbed as a teenager and transported to an immortal realm where all technology uses power from the sun; this dimension exists parallel to our own save for a special nexus, yet they share the same star as we. There he acquires a mentor, a rough-hewn, short-tempered and secretly, very frightened teacher, who reveals to him everything has been thrust upon him quite suddenly, and he now must grab our hero before his chosen time and hastily prepare him to be the last line of defense. Every guardian of the realm has been converted to living flame, unmoving torch effigies, brightly light, yet mere shadows of themselves.
Our heroine finds said hero dying one day, and discovers she is a human incarnation of a valkyrie maiden. She saves him. They fight alongside one another, they love, they wed. She exchanges her powers for a special protection that will trade her sons for her husband’s magical ancestors in times of mortal danger. Together, they move into a suburban neighborhood...and the story begins.
Origins file: Quite honestly, I was revisiting the idea of a warrior champion reminiscent of the Iron Fist of my adolescence, during which period I also intensely enjoyed David’s issues of NOVA. This time the champion would be allowed to grow and mature in ways unexplored by restricted commercial characters. Our hero and his love, who becomes a valkyrie warrior, also have twins, in which I was entirely inspired by David, the big Iron Fist fan, and his love for Amy, who likes the Valkyrie; they also have twins! So in the brain storm, I thought about how I didn’t want to give the kids powers, too, just yet---that is, I wanted to do stories where Mom, Dad, and the kids all enjoy/ cope with being normal people. The normal people angle evoked Nova, Marvel’s effort to capture the “everyman teenager who leads a secret life where his hidden powers thrust him into superhuman difficulties” ethos that inspired Spider-Man. Now, Spidey’s powers are not the place to look for that “lightning-in-a-bottle”; the comparisons would be smothering, if the powers and backstory wre not fundamentally different. Nova’s concept inspired my own imagination, plus he was a favorite of Dave’s. I wanted Dave and I and our wives to collaborate on the content for an all-original story.
All-original was important: I have a wonderful Avengers story, only applicable as a sample of my writing unless Marvel’s buying, intended not only to encapsulate that type of adventure, but also to serve as the last part of a trilogy (though the beginning is a two-parter), in fact a post script that sets up events in the middle story behind the scenes. But they may work best as stand-alone adaptations, as they were not originally plotted as an arc, despite having my novel in common. At any rate, one item I was dealing with was how a character named after Holt tied into the Dragon’s Line portion of the adventure, which hinged upon the presence of the captive Valkyrie, who he loved. I immediately thot of the less-used members of the DL, particularly Dangard, still searching the astral plane and future for the whereabouts of Nic, Marc, and Ray. The triplets---his adopted children with Wanda---also seemed to play into the search. Later, I began envisioning Holt’s sons, in adult adventurer versions, joining the quest. I wasn’t sure why Amora would work with the absorbing man and his crew, but last night I figured out Odin placed a ward to prevent her, Loki, and other Asgardian of malicious intent from entering the hiding place of the melted Destroyer robot (the maguffin). The story seemed to have something real to say, so I stuck with it despite the usual derision (usually justifiable?) of fan fiction (“it’s a pastiche, I keep saying...”). The important thing seemed to be that I could later remove the Marvel characters and still design a new adventure, but Now I see that David, his boys, and the connection to the Dragon’s Line should be lifted for an entirely different story---indeed, they together create a new story engine.
“So how do I protect the kids from mortal harm if they don’t have powers?” I asked aloud. What if there was a way to swap the kids to somewhere safe? Interestingly, I had somewhere to send them, logically, if they traded places with the Triplets, who presently dwell in the Misty Hazel’s Garden realm in the fifth dimension (or sixth, maybe). Initially, I didn’t make that connection, not till later in the hour, but I was sure the Trips switching places ala Captain Marvel would allow Mom and Dad to continue their adventures. What kind of powers would the Trips have? So long as they have the power to bring those boys back safely, it works. So far Marc Kane is the one who’s written them at all, and she says she knows they are telepaths and will be empaths in time, capable of psychometry and other feats. They are, magically speaking, initiates. As the twins grow older, their switches will conjure their similarly maturing counterparts, according to Marc.
How did their mom get this deal? I postulated, initially, she sacrificed her powers in order to gain this magical boon, to cast said protection spell in times of danger. She has retired, as has her husband, to raise their family and have a normal life together. Some phenomenon will occur that calls upon them both, and in the bargain, the children will be able to link hands and vanish---and since the Trips are known to dwell in Misty’s Garden sometime after the passing of their parents, why not send them there?
So! How was their Mom unique from Valkyrie? While thinking over the different motivations/ stories given to Marvel’s own, it became clear she could be a Valkyrie incarnated as a human (the Don Blake scenario occurred to me as well, and i knew I wanted her to have a blinding transformation trope). However, she is 100% really a human, a choice made by her spirit as her career as a Valkyrie began...and ended! Apparently, she was fascinated by the world from which the valkyries drew their fallen heroes to bring to Valhalla. Moreover, said heroes ceased to come to Valhalla; whether they are simply going to some other place, it is not known. It seems unfair, after all, to say no dies a hero on a battlefield anymore. So she chooses a human incarnation, and the plan is that she is looking for heroes, and the first one she meets activates her powers as the Valkyrie Maiden, clothed in navy blue and cloaked in mahogany. (I am trying to settle on a reddish orange tone for him.)
However, the hero she finds dying truly does not want to die---is from an entirely different spiritual discipline, and is in fact an atheist. His name is Sun Strike, and his origin is a cross between Nova and Iron Fist, made original by the writing itself, providing details such as the solar-powered nature of the realm whose champions stand like statues of living flame, rendered inactive by the technology of an invader from the future. The mentor specifically is intended to be an asshole, his response to being left out of the ranks of champions and his fear that they will not be resurrected. At any rate, he embodies the great power of the champions, yet, only by training and concentration can he access said power and possibly free the realm from oppression. At this much later date, he roams the earth as Sun Strike (I believe the name inspired the solar-powered nature of the realm). Strike has wound up in a Scandinavian milieu and quite possibly gotten himself killed, save for her efforts. Trust me, he will make it worth her while as soon as he can.
So here came his name...soon came her name, both run by the Marc Kane in the space of a few minutes. From about nine till midnight I kept revisiting the new idea, while also working out my Avengers story besides, confirming Thor’s choice of disguise to keep tabs on the villains, the nature of the Deviant’s technology, and revisited the vision of the Trips leading the sons to the Norn Stones, which fall into the hands of their father, who is without powers in this reality.
So! Expect my Avengers story over in my new sister column of pastiche fictions, "Integr8d Fix" and hopefully, as I catch up on my backlog and birthday present stories, SS and VM will spring to life!