Hey peoples! You may have noticed that yesterday I said Allegra ties in for second place with a character named Mars… well you get to meet him today! But first -> Lenda.
Sweet, adorable, and Naive with the uppercase ‘N’ Lenda. Lenda is fun, and, as my wife puts it, probably the most ‘normal’ of all the characters in Ranger’s story. Normal as in, she thinks along healthy thought-patterns and isn’t basically warped in some way. However, Lenda is a major character in the story. One of the (oh, say) about dozen times I tried re-writing Ranger’s story, I had split it into five major POV’s to switch between, and Lenda was one of those major POV’s. She’s a MASSIVELY important character, as much as Ranger and Allegra and Mars and basically anyone else. She’s not so much important in what she does, as much as that she’s there. Ooo, mysterious? That’s as much as I can tell you without it being spoilers!
Now Mars. He’s a character I love (vying for second place with Allegra, you will recall), particularly because he’s complex and fun in his evil-ness. It can be argued that Ranger’s story is essentially a story about a bunch of bad guys (the ‘Bats were originally villains in my first draft/version, and they very much still aren’t the real heroes). If this is the case, and we were to rank everyone by their evil index, Mars would probably be the direct runner-up for main villain status. He’s certainly not THE main villain, but he’s giving it a good running for. That being said, whereas I want to give Allegra everything she wants, Mars doesn’t have that pleasure. I like to make this guy suffer. You’ll hopefully see what I mean during the story. Oh, and for all of you wondering why I gave a thin guy the name of the god of war… the mythical Roman Mars could sometimes be represented as a young man. So that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. Now on with the story!
But we shall now leave those unfortunates. We travel with Allegra, across space and through the channels of the sacred to reappear at an abandoned shrine to Ursula.
The shrine was shambled, red, and keeling to the left. Weeds overgrew hedges and the broken driveway was filled with bad-ass motorcycles. After all, Allegra was expected.
There was exactly five people and five motorcycles – someone was riding double home. But who were these five people, impatiently standing around and keeping an eye on the dusty road for signs of police?
Well, first and foremost was Alex. The Alex. Allegra’s right hand, she was dark of skin, Allegra’s senior by several years, and had long box braids that swung to her hips. She had a black trenchcoat and my, looked so serious.
Next in the heirarchy was Mel. She was hard to take seriously at first, what with her platinum blonde hair, false lashes, and large lips. But once she’s punched you a few times you’ll learn to show some respect. Also, don’t make fun of her crush on Allegra. Everyone knows about it.
Next is Zack, Mel’s hopeless boyfriend who knows he’ll never be good enough to replace Allegra, no matter what punk color he dies his hair. Today it looks rather like a blue skunk.
Then there was Elfernon, an angel-faced blondie who seemed rather forgettable.
And finally, not quite forgettable and definitely the lowest in the heirarchy, was Lenda. Ah, sweet Lenda. Trying so desperately to fit in with her leather jacket and sides of her head already shaved – just waiting for that branding tattoo! She’d joined the ‘Bats two years ago, meaning she’d never actually met Allegra before. Today was her initiation into the personality cult of Allegra.
I’m just kidding. She was already a huge fan of Allegra’s general charisma, having been carefully preened by the other ‘Bats.
And so there you have it, the five of them are just standing around, nervous and twitchy. A rustle of grass, and none of them lift their heads. Allegra steps out from behind the shrine. Now she is dressed in her own clothes, jeans and leather jacket. She smirks at her luckless followers. They were out of shape, she notices.
Not physically, no. But a ‘Bat’s magical senses are supposed to be so highly attuned so as to know whenever a change in the atmosphere happens. And none of these unfortunates noticed Allegra’s appearance behind the shed, or even heard her step out.
Oh but- Lenda looks up. “Eh!” she cries out, happily seeing Allegra in the real.
All heads turn. Cries go up, sighs of relief are heard. Allegra steps forward, holding out a hand to Alex.
Alex knows better than to think this is for a hug.
“Sunglasses,” Allegra says. She is not the hugging type.
Alex whips the quasi-sacred sunglasses from their case in her breastpocket. Allegra puts them on. They, being rather large aviator sunglasses, perfectly hide the scars on her face. She smirks, looking over her rag-tag team.
So many years of being cooped up may have turned her a little bat (hah!) crazy. Because she doesn’t speak at all. She just smirks, seeing the potential in the moment. Seeing the power, the skill, and the improvement necessary to be prepared for Ursula’s grand return.
“Let’s go,” she says dryly.
And off they went.
Now I shan’t bore you with the who what when where how and why of the driving. The roads were dusty and long, the wind freeing and the sun setting. Bladibla.
Instead, let’s follow an invisible current, a powerful line of horror and thrill that was running through the nation! Or specifically, through the nation’s most powerful decision makers.
Following this thread, we land in Mars Bacorago’s office.
Ah, what an office. Strict, spartan, organized. Being housed in Bellerable’s tallest skyscraper, it has a view of the entire city through a glass wall. A fairytale view that is most splendid.
Mars was not looking at the view right then. He had his back to it and was watching his phone ring on his desk while pouring himself a cup of tea. The teapot was a frilly antique and so was the cup. The tea was cold.
Counting the rings, Mars set down the tea pot and took up the cup. On the second to last ring, that was when he picked up.
Ah, Mars. What would he do without power and a way to abuse it? Probably go mad. But let us continue.
He puts the phone to his ear, not bothering to answer more than a humm. Everyone who calls him has learned to deal with this.
But apparently not the president himself. He, a wiry and balding old man full of vitriol and rage, avoids calling Mars as much as possible. But this was a call he intended to do by himself.
“Are you there?” barks the president.
Mars’ lips twist into a wry smile. He sips his tea next to the phone’s receiver. Then, he speaks. “Well of course I am,” he says in that cold, heartless, and eternally poised voice of his.
Mars was always like that. From the jet black liner around his eyes to the cut of his clothes, everything was graceful and pristine. Let me give you a picture.
He has dark reddish brown hair that falls into his eyes, brilliant green eyes that seem to shine. A skin that is one hue too dark to be of the southern invaders’, but not dark enough to be from the islands. His cheekbones are high and his eyes are slightly tilted, but with the makeup so expertly applied no one is ever sure what lineage he bears from.
Of average height, Mars is slim for a man and perhaps a tad on the short end, but not noticeably so. Really, set him in a crowd and he would blend in, if not for the dark lines around his eyes and his wardrobe. Because that wardrobe!
It starts with pants that fit just right. A shirt that appears casual, but also fits far too well to be of casual pricing. And above it all, nearly impervious to weather, is a coat of sorts. It may be light, woolen, or whatever but it is always a shade of greyish blue. Sometimes, on a rare occasion, greyish red. It is almost always ankle length like a dress and styled just so.
Many people have wondered where Mars gets his coats. Are they tailor-made on demand by some secret designer?
I know the answer to that! The secret is this: Mars has only one coat, and he makes it himself.
Oh, trust me, it makes sense! You see, every magician has an object that they imbue with power, an object that acts as a storehouse that they can shift their soul into or out of for protection. Mars’ was his coat – rather large for a magician’s object but very well disguised. On the hottest of days he could turn it into a shirt, on the coldest it would be his winter coat. But always, always, enveloping and protecting him.
And so the fashion question is solved. The coat is pure magic, shifting with his whim and will of the day’s look. Let us return to the conversation at hand. The president was raging, furious, and embarrassed. And we all know what arrogant people do when they are humiliated. They lash out.
Mars held the phone away from his ear as the president yelled that this was a catastrophe! A disaster! Why, this was certainly the doing of those pesky rebels. Those Bellerabliens! “You must declare a state of emergency! She most certainly is headed there!”
Mars set the phone back to his ear. “Oh, sorry, what was that you said?” he said, completely indifferent. The president squawked, perhaps about to have a coronary.
“I think you said that you lost, on federal grounds, your most wanted criminal. What a federal problem,” he hummed. “Can’t see what this has to do with me. I’m just provincial.”
“She is headed for Bellerable!”
Mars’ smirk took on cruel proportions. “But unless she magicks her way across the country, she must still be in Winstonia. Put them on emergency call. I’ll be on high alert.”
Which, by the way, was a Bellerablien’s version of trying to give a damn when none was really there to give. Having been the heart-center of Ursula’s rebellion, Bellerabliens were used to war and damage. They really had little cares to give for one pesky criminal.
The president breathed like a walrus. Mars sipped his tea.
And then something very peculiar happened. Mars coolly exhaled, his breath misting cold like winter into the phone. The president inhaled. The president paused, realizing that it was very stupid to argue with Mars. He realized that, indeed, Allegra must be in Wistonia. No reason to extend federal jurisdiction and force Bellerable into emergency status.
The president exhaled loudly, feeling more relaxed than he should have been. “Be on high alert. I want roadblocks and investigations happening.”
Mars raised his eyebrows. Roadblocks and, eh, ‘investigations’. Well, sure. He could blow some money on ‘investigating’ cold cases.
“As you wish,” he fairly purred to the phone, his voice misting so slightly.
The president nodded, puffing up on his end. He felt powerful, downright macho for having ‘stuck it’ to Mars, that little pipsqueak. Hah! He was the one in charge!
Mars smirked as he sipped his tea. The president curtly babbled off some minor rules, reminded Mars of some regulations, and hung up.
Mars set the phone and his teacup down on his desk without making a sound. One look to the window, and it was sunset. For those who followed the old ways, that meant it was time to pray so that the Void’s darkness would not engulf the world.
And so Mars knelt before his window, facing the setting sun. Prayer is quite a private affair, especially for a magician. So we shall leave him to that, won’t we? Let us hop back on over to Allegra’s part of the world.