Mary and the Second Dragon, a tale by Umamor Hunter, is one of a series of stories about a time-traveler finding herself in a magical realm of ancient Scotland. Near the mountain was Arumdas's cave, but just beyond that there was the forest that I almost ran into on my first day here. Catherine had told me that for most people it was certain death to venture into the wooded thicket that was known to house all kinds of the supernatural, but then again I also wasn't most people. Sometimes I'd walk in there, just to listen to the trees and the wind blow through them. I was hoping I'd run into some fairies or at least a ley line to make contact. Finding a way to end the war between Onin, the dragons, and humans seemed to revolve around the Sidhe. Weird things did happen in the forest though. I didn't need to be under the tutelage of a dragon to know that, but at least the lessons helped me defend myself if I ever needed it. Unfortunately I also happened to be in the middle of what I called "weird things." Whether it was because of bad luck or not, I was an anomaly and an attractant, and it was annoying.
What follows is an original short story written by Baron von Gosu. Wake up. Reluctantly he opened his eyes. He was right, nothing had changed. The cage door was still closed, the stench of hundreds of others still clung to him no matter how he buried his nose in his arms, and the constant jabbering of his neighbors was still loud as all get out. The dishes in the far corner of his cage were still empty and would be until the short fat man returned at some point later in the day. He yawned and curled back up into a ball preparing to go back to sleep when the big door burst open.
Episode 14: The Finale Parker Bennett had been careful to keep a safe but steady distance from the Mini as he followed the Baroness down the I-80 corridor and onward into the Ohioan countryside. The monitor on his dash showed that the jamming signal was working; his main complaint was that the girl, like most Yanks, seemed to have no regard for the posted speed limits. Every time she disappeared from his line of sight for a period of time, the out-of-range warning chime on the anti-detonation device activated, forcing him to speed up to catch her. By the time he would, they would consistently be entering yet another of the endless small towns along the route; twice he'd nearly rear ended her as he rushed around a curve to an unseen traffic light. At the final village before the turn-off to the compound, he was sure he'd been made – at the light, her questioning blue eyes had checked him over from her rearview mirror – but by then his map had shown they were close enough that he could let her move ahead to their final destination without his having to tail too closely. He pulled off the main motorway and eased his blue sedan behind a grove of trees, just in time to see the Baroness leave the Mini next to a large black Hummer and head toward the building. Bennett smiled to himself – the girl had moxie, he'd give her that. He wasn't sure exactly what she expected to accomplish once she got inside the old warehouse, as he noticed she took no weapon in her haste to reach her friends. However, he was beginning to understand why Hax liked her, in spite of her Americanisms.
Episode 13, in which Rivalcast shows exactly what they're made of. "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!" From her perch on the catwalk, Umamor screamed as she saw the trip line just before Varyar fell. As she watched him crash to the ground with the army of deranged dolls led by Elmo closing in, time slowed to a stop. Looking about her, she could see Killer's mouth frozen open in surprise; Hax dropping his phone as he leapt up, gun in hand; Arnold tossing his Desert Eagle back behind him as he switched to his Sagat 12-guage; the blast from Lyserg's shotgun suspended in a cloud of brilliant orange fire ringed with blue smoke. Across from her, Vampy's pose showed awareness of the evil puppet behind her, though she hadn't yet turned to face it. Below, Edge was still looking up at Bio on the catwalk, who in turn had just touched the handrail as he leaned to peer over at his friends.
Episode 12, in which HOLY SHIT THINGS JUST GOT REAL. Hax had just finished slipping the silencer onto his Walther when Killer disappeared into the compound, followed by Varyar, Edge, Arnold, Vampy, and Lyserg. He took another scan of the fields surrounding them – there was a change in the air, something he couldn't quite put his finger on, and he didn't like it. He saw nothing, but kept his guard up as he backed up to the door and followed his friends inside. It took a moment for his eyes to adjust to the darkness of the cavernous room, the first of what the plans showed to be a virtual labyrinth of sets and storage areas comprising the old studio. There was a partial wall separating the entry area from the main soundstage, connected by an elaborate network of catwalks high above their heads. This could prove a liability if Da Bark Lurd's followers were able to take the higher vantage point, but Hax had more faith in Vampy's skill with the Barrett 50 than he did in some of the top snipers for MI6. As the others made sure the area was clear, he could see her and Lyserg scanning for the ideal spot to set up her "Vampy-hole" as they quietly made their way over to a rusty access ladder.
EPISODE 11 – in which YES VARYAR WE GET TO THE HEROICS! Bio shuffled listlessly about the cell, trying hard to think of something other than the horrible song playing through his mind on a loop. These animals had forced him to edit his own hostage video, eaten an entire bag of Cadbury Minis in front of him without sharing, and then forced him into a frigid cell where they piped the "Elmo's World" song at him for an hour straight. He'd begged Elmo to shoot him at that point, to which the furry monster just laughed. "Elmo doesn't like guns. Elmo likes to look in the enemy's eyes when delivering Elmo's vengeance." The maniacal laughter nearly did him in.
EPISODE 9 - in which the team is shaken From her seat in the shadows of the auditorium, Umamor had a clear view of Bio wriggling around on the floor as Elmo approached. It wasn't supposed to be like this. Yeah, Bio had run his mouth and sided with the Baroness, but it pained her to see him at the mercy of a cult – even if it was a cult she had a high rank in. Hearing the maniacal cackle of the red puppet dancing just offstage, Uma rose and swept across the sound stage, heels clacking as her ceremonial robes trailed behind her. This would not stand. She was the one who had brought Elmo to power, after all: it was her séance, her Ouija board that summoned the spirit of Elmo to her circle. What the hell did Baron know, anyway, telling her to stay away from the tools she needed to bring her Lord of Terror back to the earthly plane? To see the life heave into that furry chest, the ping-pong eyes flutter to alertness, seemed to her to be almost like bringing a child into the world. She loved this creature she had given life to. Even when he started hanging out with shady characters like Mr. Noodle, Uma loved watching him grow these past few months into the unholy devil she knew he was meant to be.
EPISODE 8 – in which...revelations. While the rest of the house dozed, Baroness sat in the darkness, watching the early gray light of the dawn creep through the windows. She hadn't slept all night. Edge's words from earlier echoed in her mind: He'll be dead soon if we don't figure out how to rescue him. And it was her fault. She was the one, not Bio, who'd opened her mouth on the air about the Cult of Sesame Street. She was the one who responded to threats with a flippant come-and-get-it attitude. She was the one who decided to take a stand by poking the bear, and it was she, not Bio, who should be God-knows-where facing the consequences of those actions. Restless, she hugged her pink bathrobe about her to ward off the morning's chill and slipped out of the warm bed, doing her best not to disturb the sleeping Baron snoring quietly beside her. She crept silently past the guest rooms containing her dozing friends and down the stairs, through the darkened living room, and down a second set of stairs leading to her workshop. She sank into her desk chair, a click of the lamp illuminating the photos on the wall. One was a snapshot of herself, Baron, and Varyar at the first Orbfest; Baroness smiled at the memory of how the team came together that night to pull off the event, in spite of numerous technical issues and the ever-present threat of banjo-wielding hillbillies migrating down from the hills. Another was of her and Vampy dressed to the nines for RCM's first Webby Awards ceremony, with Killer photobombing in the background. A third, one of her favorites, was of Edge, Bio, and Varyar at the same awards event, all dressed in black-tie formal. In it, Edge gave a sly grin as he flipped off the camera while the other two stood laughing, Bio's facepalm covering his eyes while Varyar hung his head.