I'm wrapping up the last part of my trilogy of Marvel/ TRANZ crossover universe tales, as detailed in this blog!
The following cartoon is a prototype, utilizing handy resources and simple ideas together with my illustrations. The action sequence in "Ghosts of the Deviant Stronghold!" is the basis for this animation; thanks to Marc Kane for the suggestion!
Have a great day, Lue Lyron
http://ceaseill.blogspot.com/2010/05/iron-man-heart-of-mountain-feat.html for Part One
The man clutching the Norn Stones clings for dear life, dragged across the cave floor.
“How darling, you should hold the hands of my mind,” she says to him, beckoning for effect with her repetitively curling finger. “Never let it be said, Amora has not love enough for all she deems worthy!”
Her eyebrows arch; her cheeks squeeze high and tightly; her eyes dazzle with the essence of desire.
”There’s really no further need for violence, guys,” says Iron Man, positively entranced. The features of the Enchantress soothe, even arouse, those assembled before her. “I propose a very different engagement,” she says coyly, “wherein I conjure sylphs and nature-perfumed wood nymphs---and a broad-shouldered, handsome and fair warrior for you, green one, if you wish to let bygones go by. This is our...special time, no longer burdened by the schemes of the wretches you’ve laid low!” She actually gets her arms around Iron Man’s neck, speaking as she dangles behind him. “Your armored friend ascertains the very different time we might share, and let this violent tableau burn away in the fires of our passions.”
"There's...so much good you could do...with your powers, Enchantress," says Captain America, earnestly.
"If ye wish our friendship," declares Thor, "thou needest turn thy restorative power upon yon fallen archer, for behold! His statue-like being hath born the ravages of battle as serious fractures!"
"Ah, geez, Hawkeye..." says She Hulk, let down at the sight of the seriously damaged stone iteration of the marksman of marvel.
"Tis a simple measure," replies Enchantress, who re-assembles Hawkeye's stone form. While her vaporous hands seek out the Norn Stones, she restores the Avenger, who begins to take on color, flushed of cheek. His uniform, however, remains humbly, yet greatly, shredded. The entire tone of the room turns in Amora's favor---as if it had never left.
The Grey Gargoyle stands, swaying from She Hulk’s attack, calculating some moment when he might reach an advantage...and attain the secrets of immortality that have drawn him into conflict all the days since the accidental discovery of his transforming stone touch. Only the coughing, ragged man gripping the magically summoned Norn Stones breaks the strangely tantalizing mood...while Sabretooth, dazed, crouches, scenting another figure, the man from the plane. He steps carefully into the shadows, laughing to himself.
Before the Norn Stones draw into the flesh and blood hands of the Enchantress, mighty Thor shakes off the ambient hypnosis of the cooing sorceress and takes one in hand. “There is---life within the stone!”
“N-no kidding,” says the battered and weary Steve Holt, who clutches the other Norn Stone to his chest. “I guess...if you’re gonna take these, kill me, lady. Least maybe I’ll die a warrior’s death...and this beautiful thing held inside will take me somewhere better.”
“There’s nothing there, my weary friend,” she answers, “save for some heart’s desire therein you see!”
Holt looks the impossibly beautiful woman in the eye, and realizes even HE must glance away to retain resolve. “Maybe...heart’s desires are too crystal perfect for this crummy world...refracted from other worlds we imagine inside us.” He holds the stone up to eye level. “But here’s a flash for ya. I’ve got the stones to do something about it, so too bad for you!”
She stiffens momentarily, but she engages, mystically and conversationally, her inexorable pull. “You know...I have understandings to unlock those desires of which you speak. I will be your passionate tutor...if you’ll only share now what’s coming to me.”
Then the warrior woman---the one who saved him on the most exciting day of his life, and the one of whom he’s dreamed in the bewildering nights since---Valkyrie emerges from the stones. “That he will, wicked one...that he will!!” Adorned in white and blue, regal in her bearing, her golden tresses hide one of her angry, peering, determined eyes, as she draws her sword Dragonfang and affixes the stone to its hilt on one side, and plucks the other from Thor’s hand to repeat on the other. “My thanks for your concept of me; perhaps the Eye of Odin lies not, and some past life together did we thread; and you,” she says, turning towards Holt as the Enchantress begins to gesture with malevolent sparks at her fingertips, “thank you also, whatever our connection...for the piece of me you have brought forth, as well.”
She turns to the Enchantress, and as everyone snaps out of the mesmerizing tone of the room, she brandishes her blade. “You betrayed me long ago, Amora, and from the shadows of some scheme in recent years did you cast a spell to capture me once more, as you did with the soul crystal of a thousand years past---when you made me your plaything, your disguise, even merging me with the body of lost Barbara Norriss * (Defenders #4, 1973) !”
Now strides the Grey Gargoyle towards the Destroyer, only to be bashed aside by the wary Captain America. “No you don’t, Stoney Face!”
From the shadows, the twins Dave and Nick grab Holt (their father?) and drag him out of the fray, as the Norn-enhanced blade of Valkyrie crashes down upon Amora the Enchantress’ phosphorescently manifested spells. The She Hulk comes quickly to her senses, and says, “Waaiit a minute! May I humbly present for the court a proposition: I owe somebody one SERIOUS birthday spanking!”
“Stand at ready,” says Thor, barring her way slowly, firmly. “This be a matter---by our watchful gaze-- which Brunnhilde herself, methinks, must resolve!”
At some point, begins the Valkyrie, did you bewitch me, during one of my adventures beside and beyond what most call reality.
At some point, begins the Valkyrie, did you bewitch me, during one of my adventures beside and beyond what most call reality.
Next: The Enchantress' final showdown with Valkyrie! Her Destroyer plan fully revealed!
WHO are the Celestials? And WHAT is the connection between the Celestials and gods that led to the Destroyer's creation in the first place?
The mystery of the twins, the phantoms of the lost Deviant catacombs, and the enigma of the one called Nido! Prepare for the smash conclusion: "Heart of the Mountain!"
Only of late have I been drawn into the Norn Stones, a situation I ascertained was a trap. Was I there for my own safety, or imprisoned? But patience quickly prevailed once found, and my nothingness became a prism for my consciousness.”
Then did I realize, Amora. ‘Twas YOU who did play me as before, containing my essence without help in a crystal for passage-less eternity. Yet as you know, I have since the day you merged me with Barbara’s body, to make from her lost mind a champion, diminished when opposed to her fellow woman, yet, forever prepared to test her equality with any man living. Yet did her life before seek to smother me with questions, commands and kisses unbidden, born of passions belonging to the mortal woman with whom I became merged. Now, free of her body, returned into my own, I find some enchantment from that life remaining...still able to draw me to you again.”
“Long have we known one another, yes,” replies Amora. “As your friend and master, I bid you---peace now.”
Valkyrie shakes her head, with melancholy, and then glares with firm resolve.
“Of the many things you have been, you must find a new role yet,” she says. Her sword strikes ball lightning sparks that roll throughout the walls and earth of the ripped open heart of the mountain, clashing with shield made visible, force bolts turning aside, friction, scattered gravity and force physically reflect the mesons and anti-matter substances disturbed---redistributed---the bending of reality’s binding ingredients in the creation of their battle.
“Inside the stones did I realize:
This!... Hold on me is not as complete. She relies on a spell she cast, a trap she set, when I was in fact a very different person! So was the body different and so, the body has been free to BE free!
Yet did I bide my time. I will separate our paths in this form, Amora. I have waited to see what notorious thoughts and resolves did require myself as your pawn. When the conception of me was drawn then would I materialize---perhaps by you yourself, when your plans came to fruition. Your will: that my mind play the hand to carry your deadliest toys. Have you ever seen me for myself, even so much as this wounded warrior who did reach for my imprisoned self? See you any, save yourself, for all your vaunted years and charms?
The power of the Norn Stones, which of late were her jail, unite with the will that yet remained free...for she has come to know her immortal self, who it is her nature to be...
And by that intention, does she break free.
Now, the Enchantress, her hand over her pained face, wounded that none raise a hand to her aid in all the universe, sounds refreshed in the bite of a moment, as she disappears from the realm of sounds, smells, and the wide realms of touch.
“I sever ties to you, though never would I want to do
So but I must let you go
It’s with pain, constraint, and necessity, you know.
For our own good, sorry to be misunderstood
The energy level all wrong to let things keep moving along
In such an unhealthy way you’ll drain me dry if we stay
So we give the energy to our arts, free to live our stolen hearts.”
With those words inspired by the ghost walk with Marc Kane into the place wherein the hidden Enchantress had set this game into play, assembling her as a piece, now does the pawn claim her own stakes and decisions, removed from this weakness for the magic of this one she’d called friend, in the bitter days first when Valkyries no longer chose the human slain. The Celestials of the Third Host, all thousand feet high manifestations of unfathomable superhumans, had bargained to remove the gods from the matters of men, a thousand years before; the Destroyer intended as her next prison had been made to face the danger of their return. So have events turned now, the assertion of her being---in a world greater, mysterious outer mechanisms forever change.
And with these words does the energy to destroy all herein described begin a new life in the foundation of the cavern.
The trees...the moss...the light from the opened heart of the mountain...years of tender care, it seems, brings a small garden...and from that, now comes a semi-circle of trees.
Twins have safely come to take their Dad out of the fight once he was now out of fight himself. In the shadows of the Deviant catacombs, the hieroglyphs and hidden machines hinting at marvels by the greatly mutated line of Man created by the Celestials’ machination upon the visit of the Second Host. Now do green shrubs and the flora awaiting its entrance now into Nature and its fauna.
Stones affixed to the hilt of Dragonfang now become the Valkyrie’s to bear away to Asgard, as befits the life beyond circulation in the lives of earth’s super-heroes, its champion now returned to a place of impossibilities that would seem madness outside the daydreams of humanity.
Grey Gargoyle seeks to acquire its secret of immortality; that guides him to the only proven totem of immeasurable power available, the Destroyer figure. But She Hulk has now figured out how useful a projectile might be in disadvantaging the Grey Gargoyle. She takes the stone form of Cap’s shield and hurls it with vigor into the villain. Cheerfully, Cap catches it on the rebound, fruitfully transmutated back to its reliable, one-of-a-kind allow form. “You trying out for these stars and stripes?” chuckles Cap to She Hulk. “Your head wings’ll never go with this cut! Besides, you want people to think I’m just a female knock-off of some well-known male super hero?“
“Nice shot!” cheers Hawkeye, complete with ripped up costume.
“Nice suit!” she quips.
“What are you doing?” growls Sabretooth to the quite normal seeming older gentleman with one hand, strolling up to the Destroyer. He disregards the mutant. With the arm that now no longer seems to have a hand attached does he reach to the cosmic goliath, and without touching, the air seems to part like a liquid before the construct, which in fewer blinks of the eye than it took to read this, the Destroyer is now a formless pool lying at his feet: a pond of indescribable substance, and indestructible matter.
Captain America stands before this enormously powerful, yet subtly contained, personage, his face filled with wonder. His heart sets aside fear...but no question comes to mind.
“Nido,” says the man. “That’s me.”
“Ah, with my old stump, without the hand I lost in a tow truck winch, at the end of my younger days. I was free to be a hoodlum all I could, since there was not much else waiting in life those times. Right now, all I really want’s to catch up with my plane to San Diego! Nice this time of year...”
As Thor takes note: Sabretooth abandons the fight. “For what wait thou, beastlike man?”
“Thought I might see something I like,” he replies, casually turning his back now. “See I’m mostly busy with saving my own SKIN! Breaking fangs on wrist of a thunder god has NOTHING to add to survival!”
By the time Sabretooth clears the crevice into which he leaps, Thor’s hammer hurtles close behind, to end in dusty shatterings of plans.
“Yet do men not realize, I seek not to take lives of mortal men,” says Thor, as Mjolnir flies back to its thrower’s hand. “Though in battle times oft have I seen one so insanely unafraid of senseless savagery yet respect the sheer presence of authorial force! Still should I plunge within the darkness...and...nothing! I hover, having plunged into the shattered ground, yet to no avail, while still are matters else unresolved!”
As Thor turns back, Sabretooth holds his breath deep in shadows. Here, however, he turns towards a pair of red eyes, and a metallic, tall figure with a presence even Creed would call sinister.
“I have need of one such as you,” says the figure. “Hold still a moment...I collect you for my marauding band of cloned creations...and such as you shall serve well...glad am I to have continued to parallel the path of the Enchantress in emergent scheming with the extra-dimensional prime movers...” He holds Sabretooth in stasis, surrounded by crackling crimson. The light absorbing darks dotting the aura announce the coming of absconding oblivion.
“Triplets”: that is the rhythmic word attracting the attention of the twins to a place in the air otherwise unfilled, they touch an experience with their minds amidst the corridors of secrets from the offshoot civilization. “Brown...and on either, side, white, then black,” says Dave.
“I see it too,” replies Nick. “Those layers of sound bending, then falling in cadence, place something like communication straight into our... wait, we know you! But you’re so young!”
“Then a great team has reunited, in a way,” say the voices; which one exactly speaks, it is from one perceived auditorium of the pictured mental self, a mystery zone.
“We actually just got an energy boost from elsewhere in time and space that got us this close; we were attracted to the magic of the Valkyrie. We are travelling backwards in time, before she thus became imprisoned..travelling back to the time when the spell connected, from an era containing plots of yet another dimension. *”
(*See “Free of This Fallen World!” and “Calinferno!” and “Remus Sharptooth Regrets, or Spell of the Wolf”, the Defenders/ Tranz trilogy on these blogs..not to mention the giant-sized Fantastic Four story. It chronologically falls in between those sagas and this one! Yes, really!)
“Sense Stones,” thinks Iron Man.
Read outs consistent; quantum parameters heuristically recorded; pattern unknown.
Triplets sense Iron Man. But he tries, in addition to his many computations, to find some kind of non-algorithmic, original thought...seeking in sensation he knows as an arbitrary induction, to unite with the unknown, some other way...and so stands in the presence of enigmas, aware simply they yet remain beyond his rationales.
So long as you don’t loot or disturb the Deviant tech...IF you’re not just some side-effect of one of those hidden machines...I just want to remain here a minute longer....even if I can’t understand, I’m just...so curious.
“Nido!” they exclaim, when the humble dark skinned man’s twinkling eye belies instant knowledge of themselves profoundly beneath their own understandings.
“Dangard stands witness,” he says warmly. Then he turns to Steve Holt.
“A moment, my friend.”
Triplets, given energy by Sun Strike, realize this version of the father of the twins is not the one native to the reality where they forged their bond with differently named twin sons. However, their pathway back in time towards their parents, thanks to the spell attempting to bind Valkyrie, glows brightly, twinkling in a type of void beyond hyperspace, connecting subtly with their one connection to the mysterious time travelers who, with their mother, gave them birth.
“We’ve been trying to regroup with Mom and Dad,” explains Nick; “Dave and I got separated, too, but we found our way to this reality inside some transport device in this mountain!”
Valkyrie holds the Norn Stones forth to them... a legacy from her capitivity, the jewels won by the bravery of their father-in-this-reality. “Twins: a knowing is mine, I must share. Take these stones; they are from another reality stolen. Take them with you, and when the feeling directs, when the knowledge comes, you will return them to the Norn Queen. From Karnilla’s magical presence, you will find yourself thereafter back in the world upon which your parents are incarnated three hundred years away...and from there lies the path to the children that began this journey, from a different turn in Mysti Hazel’s Garden...perhaps a ride on an Iwangosowhers, asking directions from I Don’t Know...”
“No,” but we are of the same spirit, born of the continuing spell that make us each to ride the skies of Asgard, the same purpose that made us to gather fallen heroes. Perhaps now may we stand by their side, and poise our strength against sadness and helplessness, to prolong the lives of heroes.”
“Follow your own journeys into mystery. Return to your childhood. Connect with your Source. You will find the means of contacting her again. Return to where she sent you to play.” They pass down a hallway in gratitude...and then does their adventure graduate some new level as yet known in the clues yet shared widely...
And now her gaze meets his. And finally he understands. Profoundly. He is alone, after all. Yet one need not take it that way...he watches her as they walk into the forest conjured in the aftermath of her victory, expending the immediate wishes upon which the Norn Stones played.
She is, after all, a creature of Asgard. So then does her walk take her into the same woods...yet her part in his path becomes a feeling held secret and dear...and her reality again reaches across the cosmos, to dwell beyond faith.
Thor’s rain shower is gentle this time, cleansing, cooling the laser-riven earth. His thoughts turn to stories of a Wanderer, told before his own birth...the greatest magician, truly, for he hung the nine days to gain the runes, and even gave an eye to Wisdom. Though his guises were many, Thor feels certain: the hand of his All Father has again intervened.
Holt awakens, gathering his pack, walking the path from nowhere to the highway.
You will find her, the man had said, extending an arm without a hand as though to shake his own. With that, he vanished as one may have never been.
And who can say what months pass...
Until one day...
He again beholds one he might wish to love in every way.
In her he sees more magic than he ever dared to hold. He watches her hair, unbidden, her smile, and scrutinizes her serious looks in between, her nervousness here in the same grocery store he labors to make his bills, to share a suite with friends and get together a life to replace the lonely roads.
He watches her bend over. He knows he’s staring. And yet her smile from the start has shaken him in a way only the greatest dangers have.
He continues bagging the accumulated line of groceries.
“Now that’s what I would call a nice end.”