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1. Last of the Supranormals: "And Then There Were Eleven"
Despite what its initial sub-heading indicates, Last-1 doesn't actually begin with the Godling Guild's Summoning of 1920, which does begin the Age of the Supranormal. It begins with why there was a need for a Summoning in the first place. That doesn't last long, though, and soon we're on to Salvation Island, 1953, which did pretty much end the Supranormal Age, such as it was. It doesn't last long either, primarily because what Last-1 is really about is the absolute end of their Age. Well, absolute end of the Age of the Supranormal circa 1955 anyhow.
It's going to take awhile to get to that point. Which is why there's a 4-chapter mini-novella called Last of the Supranormals. We do definitely get rid of one supra this chapter; one we've got rid of twice before, as it happens, -- in 1944 and 1948 (or thereabouts). That's one of the troubles with these darn supras; they keep coming back. And, as one might expect, there's a reason for that. However, well, we're not going to get into that right here, right now.
From the preceeding, it must be a safe bet to make there are at least 12 supras featured in this chapter, right? Wrong! (Guess that's why safe bets are almost always sucker bets.) Fact is there are an awful lot more than 12 at least one-time supras mentioned this chapter. Truth told, though, less than 12 of them physically make an appearance in Last-1. Mind you, as the title kind of gives away, by chapter-end it's equally true there are only going to be eleven active ones left.
(As you might have apprehended by now, there are always qualifiers in PHANTACEA. Eleven reasonably powerful ones left active, make that then, -- the mostly bed-ridden Soviet Supra Supreme mentats, or mentalists, don't count, do they? Not yet anyhow.)
Might as well tell you that by the start of Last-2, next time up, there's only going to be ten. That is to say, yawn-1, there are only going to be ten of them until the eleventh one gets reasonably powerful again. Rather, make that yet again, yawn-2, the eleventh remembers he was once reasonably powerful. And who might they be, you might well-wonder. (End of free plug!)
Next thing you might wonder, now that you know how it ends, is why you should read it. Answer's that, in addition to it being somewhat of a tear-jerker (and a surprising amount of folks enjoy a sad ending), especially given the Launch cycle of story sequences have been being serialized out here on the Web for something like four and a half years as I write this, it was a foregone conclusion anyhow. Besides, since Last 1-to-4 is just the opening part of Revenge, don't you want to see who Rings gets revenge upon and why? I know I do. That's why I'm writing it!
Whoa, -- does that mean it isn't finished yet? Does indeed. Not even close. What's more, I only just figured out the War Between Heaven and Earth angle referred to over in the preview page. (And the sooner I get this page up on the Web, the sooner I can get back to it.) I suspect the following Blockquote might be somewhat of a precursor of where it's going to end up, though.
OMP, eh, -- didn't he have a sister, a wife, a daughter? Answer this time's at least one of each. So, if Rings is going to eventually get revenge upon someone, might it be one of them? Only one way to find out, isn't there?
2. Last of the Supranormals: "Talking Dark Ages"
This is one of those 'Talking Heads' chapters I occasionally concoct, -- if only to give myself a breather from all the action sequences I usually feel obliged to write. Which isn't to say it doesn't end cliff-hangingly dangerously.
The Great Man is, of course, Loxus Abraham Ryne, -- the outrageously wealthy, born with the Twentieth Century, now 55, 35-years long-time patriarch of the Illuminated Faith of Xuthros Hor, which is named after the Biblical Noah. Since LSN -- 'The Last of the Supranormals' (the first part of Ringleader's Revenge) --, is set in December 1955 his fiance is Countess Ramona Avar.
Ray's a possibly past, perhaps present, and potentially future Strife. Saul's Abe Ryne's son by Eden Nightingale, she of the Heliodyssey cycle of story sequences. Prior to aka the Magnificent Psycho's entirely unexpected and very much unwanted reappearance in their lives, most of "Talking Dark Ages" is a dialogue between Ryne and Ray.
Just as FOURTH-, SIXTH-, and FIFTEENTH-Moon are good references to bookmark in terms of The PHANTACEA Mythos, this installment of on the Web is book-remarkable in terms of The PHANTACEA Philosophy (pHants in the audience should feel free to call it pH-pHil). Rather, to be absolutely accurate, of Abe Ryne's philosophy as expressed in PHANTACEA.
Having, for the first time in years, recently seen Network (a 1976 film written by Paddy Chayefsky and directed by Sidney Lumet), Abe's pHil resounds like a maybe not quite so vituperative reverberation of the view howsoever echo-expressed by the corporate executive to the Peter Finch 'I'm mad as hell' character toward the butt-end of that spookily prescient flick. There's also Ryne's dismissive dissection of Angelo Zeross' vision of Utopia, which is somewhat closer to my own.
[Forgive the editorial comment but it strikes me that, in this day and age of apparently futile anti-WTO and World Bank demonstrations, Network's corporate executive would probably be considered an object of admiration rather than of scorn, as Chayefsky's script seems to suggest he should be.]
In any case, if I haven't already done so, I'll likely be quoting from Last-2nd in PHANTACEA on the Web for many more years to come. (I'd've said "God willing for many more years to come" except ...) [First person speaking is Ramona Avar. Other one's Ryne Senior.]
Who says talking heads aren't entertaining? Surely not me!
3. Last of the Supranormals: "One Big Happy"
Those familiar with the Launch Tetralogy will have already figured out why Ring's '55 is more correctly called 'The Last of the Supranormals'. Similarly, the title of our introductory chapter would seem a dead giveaway that, for there to be a last of ..., there can't be eleven of same for much longer. Elementary arithmetic would further suggest ten'd have to go and our overall title makes it pretty clear who's going to be the last.
Except, of course, he isn't a supra any more, is he? Not after the concluding few paragraphs of Last-1. So, was Psycho Number 11? Say, for the sake of argument, he was, -- does that mean by the end of next chapter there won't be any supras left? Might indeed, I suppose, but there's only going to be one way to find out and we aren't there yet!
Where we are is Vancouver Canada. It's Christmas 1955 or, as the Xuthrodites call it, Xmas. ('X' being for Xuthros Hor, the Biblical Noah, -- at least it is in The PHANTACEA Mythos.) The occasion is the 35th anniversary of the founding of the Alliance of Man, the successor group to the ill-fated Godling Guild of Summoning fame. Abe Ryne, the Xuthrodites' patriarch and the main mega-moneybags behind the Alliance, has sprung to bring together quite the gathering of diversity.
As the chapter progresses we go from essentially Ryne's perspective to that of Gloriella D'Angelo, the supra code-named Radiant Rider or, less artistically but more poignantly, not to mention colourfully, Rainbow. Before we follow suit there's time for a mite more pH-pHil courtesy of, who else?
Isn't Abe Ryne who's going to have to come back after next chapter, though.
Bel is Gloriella's sister, Belificent. Even though she's twelve or thirteen years younger than Gloriel, Crystal is the daughter of Glory's maternal grandfather, Sedon (once Satan) St Synne, the inventor of the devil ray. Technically speaking therefore, Crystal's Radiant Rider's aunt. Crystal is also the daughter of Corona Power, whom I've alluded to previously on this page. I draw your attention to these names solely for reasons of non-Thanatos but nonetheless tantalizingly foreboding purposes.
Harry's of course Aristotle Zeross, our book-titular Ringleader. As for Rainbow, Cerebrus, Murray, Cohen and Power, between this chapter and the previous two they get somewhat less attention than, among others, Aires, Thalassa, Blind Sundown, Raven's Head, and someone called Wilderwitch. Wait a minute, -- doesn't that add up to ...
Gee, Abe, don't you think you yourself, or your Ray of a fiance, might have had something to do with it?
4. Last of the Supranormals: "Damnation Day"
With respect to Last-3, in case I failed to mention it Estrella is Star Dark (from 1980's Launch Tetralogy). She's Gloriel's now currently 2 1/2 year old daughter by Immanuel Dark. Whom, at least according to him, was once very vaguely associated with the supra first code-named Mr Brilliant in 1938's Heliodyssey series of stories, but who is also still around in 1980. (Make that Doc Dark's still around in 1980. Mr Brilliant's, well, um, -- forget I even mentioned him!)
[As I write this, in early November 2000, Launch is wrapping up. Its synopses start on ... Doc Dark's mentioned once in awhile throughout it, though the closest he comes to featuring in any of that 4-part epic is in... As for Star, she's all grown up and eventually connects with ... And, if you really want to know who Rings will want to be revenging himself upon, you might want to check out TWENTIETH-Moon. Plugs done. For now.]
With respect to Last-4, here we are at last. And, yes, not even before end-chapter there are no more big time, major league supras left. No non-blanked ones, anyhow. Plenty of blanked ones, though. Let me assure you, however, that none of either/or are going to play a significant role in Ring's '60, which is due to debut next time up. Not as supras at any rate!
Forgive me again, if you will, for letting them take up so much space in LSN but I simply had to get rid of the future, come 1980, D-Brig supranormals in order to start telling the story, in detail, of the last of them, circa 1955, -- namely not Psycho. The ten I summarily dispatch this chapter tend to monopolize whatever I write. That is to say, whenever I write about them.
For example, Blind Sundown dominates action in both 'The Moloch Manoeuvres' and 'Helioddity'. OMP, Old Man Power, albeit under various guises, appears almost as often in PHANTACEA as Fisherwoman or the Dual Entities do. Much the same can be said about Raven's Head, although her appearances in the Heliodyssey sequences are better masked than those of the oversized faerie fart.
And, please, let's not even start with Wilderwitch. Not only does she get a whole short story, the only one I've ever published (other than, arguably, on the Web), in Forever and Forty Days she literally sneaks into both the Volsung and Vampire VVs. Even though she's barely ten years old at the time, and is only identified as 'Wolfie', damned if she doesn't save the day in both of them. Fortunately there are also lots of days, not to mention lots of folks in need of saving, in both 'Variations'.
Someday I'm going to get up the courage to kill off the entirety of the Damnation Brigade, one by one, -- on permanent basis! "Damnation Day" may not be that-it but this-it is as close as I'm going to get for the next quarter century, PHANTA-time. So, sad as it may be, enjoy it while you can.
Certainly one would think Abe Ryne and his fiance, Countess Ramona Avar, would, or are, -- enjoying it, that is --, but they aren't! Because, well, quite frankly Ray doesn't believe they're gone. Perhaps for good reason.
Over four years are going to pass, figuratively speaking anyhow, before I get to the next installment of Harry's saga. And that of Loxus Abraham Ryne, O.J. 'Big Max' Maxwell, Belificent D'Angelo, Crystal St Synne, Ramona Avar, and Corona Power, among many another. Among those others I may have just included (unless I just eliminated) .... Let's put it this way: Eden Nightingale did not just give birth to a pair of sons.
Other thing to note is that Gloriella D'Angelo was not the only girl-child born on the same day as Aranyani Nightingale. Ever heard of someone called Meroudys? No? By end-"Damnation Day", if you haven't already, I guarantee you will have. I know, because not only did I write it, I just reread it!
NEXT: Ringleader's Revenge: Aspects of an Amoebaman
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