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Welcome to a 'Ringleader's Revenge' Serial Synopsis Webpage

- Top of Page Search Engine - Latest Highlights - Phantacea Publications available in print and digitally - Bottom of Page Ordering Lynx -

Phantacea Publications in Print

- The 'Launch 1980' story cycle - 'The Thrice-Cursed Godly Glories' Fantasy Trilogy - The '1000 Days' Mini-Novels - The phantacea Graphic Novels -

The 'Launch 1980' Story Cycle

The War of the Apocalyptics

Front cover of War Pox, artwork by Ian Bateson, 2009

Published in 2009; main webpage is here; ordering lynx are here;

Nuclear Dragons

Nuclear Dragons front cover, artwork by Ian Bateson, 2013

Published in 2013; main webpage is here; ordering lynx are here;

Helios on the Moon

Front cover for Helios on the Moon, artwork by Ricardo Sandoval, 2014

Published in 2014; main webpage is here; ordering lynx are here;

The 'Launch 1980' story cycle comprises three complete, multi-character mosaic novels, "The War of the Apocalyptics", "Nuclear Dragons" and "Helios on the Moon", as well as parts of two others, "Janna Fangfingers" and "Goddess Gambit". Together they represent creator/writer Jim McPherson's long running, but now concluded, project to novelize the Phantacea comic book series.

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'The Thrice-Cursed Godly Glories' Epic Fantasy

Feeling Theocidal

Front Cover for Feel Theo, artwork by Verne Andru, 2008

Published in 2008; main webpage is here; ordering lynx are here

The 1000 Days of Disbelief

Front cover of The Thousand Days of Disbelief, collage prepared by Jim McPherson, 2010

Published as three mini-novels, 2010/11; main webpage is here; ordering lynx for individual mini-novels are here

Goddess Gambit

Front cover for Goddess Gambit by Verne Andru, 2012

Published in 2012; main webpage is here; ordering lynx are here

Circa the Year of Dome 2000, Anvil the Artificer, a then otherwise unnamed, highborn Lazaremist later called Tvasitar Smithmonger, dedicated the first three devic talismans, or power foci, that he forged out of molten Brainrock to the Trigregos Sisters.

The long lost, possibly even dead, simultaneous mothers of devakind hated their offspring for abandoning them on the far-off planetary Utopia of New Weir. Not surprisingly, their fearsome talismans could be used to kill Master Devas (devils).

For most of twenty-five hundred years, they belonged to the recurring deviant, Chrysaor Attis, time after time proven a devaslayer. On Thrygragon, Mithramas Day 4376 YD, he turned them over to his Great God of a half-father, Thrygragos Varuna Mithras, to use against his two brothers, Unmoving Byron and Little Star Lazareme, in hopes of usurping their adherents and claiming them as his own.

Hundreds of years later, these selfsame thrice-cursed Godly Glories helped turn the devil-worshippers of Sedon's Head against their seemingly immortal, if not necessarily undying gods. Now, five hundred years after the 1000 Days of Disbelief, they've been relocated.

The highest born, surviving devic goddesses want them for themselves; want to thereby become incarnations of the Trigregos Sisters on the Hidden Continent. An Outer Earthling, one who has literally fallen out of the sky after the launching of the Cosmic Express, gets to them first ...

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The '1000 Days' Mini-Novels

The Death's Head Hellion

- Sedonplay -

Front cover for The Death's Head Hellion, collage prepared by Jim McPherson, 2010

Published in 2010; main web presence is here; Character Companion starts here; ordering lynx are here;

Contagion Collectors

- Sedon Plague -

Front cover for Contagion Collectors, collage prepared by Jim McPherson, 2010

Published in 2010; main web presence is here; Character Companion starts here; ordering lynx are here;

Janna Fangfingers

- Sedon Purge -

Front cover for Janna Fangfingers, collage prepared by Jim McPherson, 2011

Published in 2011; two storylines recounted side-by-side, the titular one narrated by the Legendarian in 5980, the other indirectly leading into the 'Launch 1980' story cycle; main web presence is here; Character Companion starts here; ordering lynx are here;

In the Year of the Dome 4825, Morgan Abyss, the Melusine Master of the Utopian Weirdom of Cabalarkon, seizes control of Primeval Lilith, the ageless, seemingly unkillable Demon Queen of the Night. The eldritch earthborn is the real half-mother of the invariably mortal Sed-sons but, once she has hold of her, aka Lethal Lily, Master Morgan proceeds to trap the Moloch Sedon Himself.

In the midst of the bitter, century-long expansion of the Lathakran Empire, the Hidden Headworld's three tribes of devil-gods are forced to unite in an effort to release their All-Father. Unfortunately for them, they're initially unaware Master Morg, the Death's Head Hellion herself, has also got hold of the Trigregos Talismans, devic power foci that can actually kill devils, and Sedon's thought-father Cabalarkon, the Undying Utopian she'll happily slay if they dare attack her Weirdom.

Utopians from Weir have never given up seeking to wipe devils off not just the face of the Inner Earth, but off the planet itself. Their techno and biomages, under the direction of the Weirdom of Cabalarkon's extremely long-lived High Illuminary, Quoits Tethys, have determined there is only one sure way to do that -- namely, to infect the devils' Inner Earth worshippers with fatal plagues brought in from the Outer Earth.

Come All-Death Day there are more Dead Things Walking than Living Beings Talking. Believe it or not, that's the good news.

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phantacea Graphic Novels

Forever and Forty Days

- The Genesis of Phantacea -

Front cover of Forever and Forty Days; artwork by Ian Fry and Ian Bateson, ca 1990

Published in 1990; main webpage is here; ordering lynx are here

The Damnation Brigade

- Phantacea Revisited 1 -

Front cover of The Damnation Brigade, artwork by Ian Bateson, retouching by Chris Chuckry 2012

Published in 2013; main webpage is here; ordering lynx are here

Cataclysm Catalyst

- Phantacea Revisited 2 -

Front cover for Cataclysm Catalyst, artwork by Verne Andru, 2013

Published in 2014, main webpage is here; ordering lynx are here

Kadmon Heliopolis had one life. It ended in October 1968. The Male Entity has had many lives. In his fifth, he and his female counterpart, often known as Miracle Memory, engendered more so than created the Moloch Sedon. They believe him to be the Devil Incarnate. They've been attempting to kill him ever since. Too bad it's invariably he, Heliosophos (Helios called Sophos the Wise), who gets killed instead.

On the then still Whole Earth circa the Year 4000 BCE, one of their descendants, Xuthros Hor, the tenth patriarch of Golden Age Humanity, puts into action a thought-foolproof, albeit mass murderous, plan to succeed where the Dual Entities have always failed. He unleashes the Genesea. The Devil takes a bath.

Fifty-nine hundred and eighty years later, New Century Enterprises launches the Cosmic Express from Centauri Island. It never reaches Outer Space; not all of it anyhow. As a stunning consequence of its apparent destruction, ten extraordinary supranormals are reunited, bodies, souls and minds, after a quarter century in what they've come to consider Limbo. They name themselves the Damnation Brigade. And so it appears they are -- if perhaps not so much damned as doomed.

At least one person survives the launching of the Cosmic Express. He literally falls out of the sky -- on the Hidden Continent of Sedon's Head. An old lady saves him. Except this old lady lives in a golden pagoda, rides vultures and has a third eye. She also doesn't stay old long. He becomes her willing soldier, acquires the three Sacred Objects and goes on a rampage, against his own people, those that live.

Meanwhile, Centauri Island, the launch site of the Cosmic Express, comes under attack from Hell's Horsemen. Only it's not horses they ride. It's Atomic Firedrakes!

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pH-Webworld

- Jim McPherson's phantacea Online -

Logo for Phantacea reads Anheroic Fantasy since 1977

| List of ph-Webworld's Online Serials | Page Contents | Introductory Note |

RINGLEADER'S REVENGE

VARIOUS FACES HAVING NOTHING TO DO WITH RINGLEADER

[Two Ephesian Faces, Photograph by Jim McPherson, 1996]

- Ephesus, Turkey 1996 -

-- The Ringleader Online Serials --

Rings '55: LAST OF THE SUPRANORMALS

Rings '60: ASPECTS OF AN AMOEBAMAN

© copyright Jim McPherson, 2003

 

| pH-Webworld's Welcoming Page | Internal Search Engine | Main Menu | Online PHANTACEA Primer | Ongoing PHANTACEA Features | pHantaBlog | Information for ordering by credit card | Information for ordering by certified cheque or money order | Serial Synopses | Contact | pH-Webworld Miscellanea | Lynx to additional websites featuring Jim McPherson's PHANTACEA Mythos | Bottom of Page Lynx |
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Bulk of page written: October 2001

ASPECTS OF AN AMOEBAMAN

Gold-Mining for PHANTACEA Factoids

| Amoebamen | The Miracle Key |

- 1. "Belificent's Wedding" - 2. "Merry Harry Marrying" - 3. "Leandro Dies Again" - 4. "Belificent's Funeral" - 5. "Meroudys Two Too Many" - 6. "Hellion Harry Harrowing" -

1. Aspects of an Amoebaman: "Belificent's Wedding"

Something like 52-months of pHanta-time have passed since Damnation Day. In terms of the at-the-time seemingly insignificant, teeny-bopper (read puppy-love), crush-contest mentioned ever so briefly in LAST-3, the winner is ...

'The Alliance of Man invites you to join with the Family of Angelo and Megaera Zeross and the Family of Raphael and Sophia D'Angelo to celebrate the marriage of their beloved children, Aristotle and Belificent.'

Thus begins the next installment of Harry's saga. And, as promised, that of O.J. 'Big Max' Maxwell, Belificent D'Angelo, Crystal St Synne, Loxus Abraham Ryne, Ramona Avar now Ryne and, yes, Aranyani Nightingale, who at least according to her birth certificate is also a Ryne. I should forewarn you right at the outset of Rings '60 that, as we progress through what I'll mostly be referring to as Asps One through Six, a number of others will bear special attention.

They include Kadmon Heliopolis, whom Headmistress Virginia 'Ginny' Mannering still calls 'El Draco', his half-sister, Europa, whose now somewhere around fifteen years dead mother was Mnemosyne born D'Angelo, and Kad's Dragon's Teeth (aka 'The Trigon Spartae'). Add to them, as has become relatively regular in PHANTACEA on the Web, a certain little trickster who never seems to grow any older than age-7.

[NOTE: Hush Mannering is calling herself Ali Dodgson in Rings '60. Since she goes by the name of Dorothy Dodgson in the 'Launch 1980' story cycle maybe the real Ali (Alice) was the real Dorothy's mother.]

As for our nominative-Asps, there's three of them in April 1960: Trebleman Johann Schmidt, Sean Smythe and Joan Smith (who I suppose is, nominatively, a Treblewoman). Furthermore, since Asp-1 occurs on the Thirtieth of that month, which is Year 60's Walpurgis Nacht, or Witch-Night in English, please note that a number of other witches besides Hush are in attendance.

One's the Anthean Sisterhood's then-former Superior, Dolores nee D'Angelo now Rivera, a second's its then-current Superior, Morgianna Sarpedon (the Morrigan, also known as the Demon Queen), and a third's Harry's aforementioned Hellion of a Mother Meg. There's also Headmistress Mannering's Headmistress, Bonita sometimes called Maxwell. But, like ex-Superior Sorrow, they're only teachers, aren't they?

Except for those I swear I'll never again mention by name, at least in the synopsis portion of Rings '60, most of those at the Alliance of Man's 35th anniversary party featured in Last-3 are at the wedding. But for Hush, they are of course all four and a third years older. Which means the Summoning Children, the likes of Ginny and Salvatore Dis L'Orca, are 39.

As usual for the Alliance it's quite the gathering of diversity. Then three more arrive. Whereupon some might say, and do (though perhaps not in so many words), it becomes quite the gathering of perversity. One's Caliban Kopf, the enormous, mute but not deaf manservant of another, the so-called Young Baron, Gunther von Alptraum. Aka, for perhaps self-explanatory reasons, Prince Peashooter, von Alp's the apparently Summoning-Aged son of the Old Baron, Tyrtod von Alptraum, and Berchta born Faust always Volsung (who's still alive in Rings '60), they of the Heliodyssey sequences set in 1938.

Von Alp the Younger lives in the Soviet Supra City, which Abe Ryne and his then-fiance, now-wife, Ramona Avar, discussed at some length in Last-2nd. Is also the custodian of the notes, designs and actual blueprints left behind by Ryne's nephew, Jesus Mandam, the Conquering Christ, who was killed on Salvation Island on Xmas Day 1953. Ryne wants these papers desperately. Will go to almost any lengths to get hold of them. And that's all I'll be saying about that right now!

Did I say three?

Calm as almost always, Loxus Abraham Ryne, flanked by Big Max and Colonel Jock Maxwell, walked up to the three new arrivals and held out his hand.

"Ah, gentlemen. Good to see you again." Even at the age of sixty, Ryne's 'voice' had lost none of its lustre.

"Thanks, Abe," said the Black Death.

"I was referring to von Alp and Herr Kopf, Moirnoir."

"Then that must mean it's great to see me again."

Better make that four!

The commotion aroused by the arrival of Von Alp, Herr Kopf, and Auguste Moirnoir was nothing compared to the final arrival at the evening's festivities.

"What idiot let you out of Spandau?"

"Spandau? Haven't been there for years, smoked salmon. Not really. Certainly not in mind. Figured Rude Hess deserved the place to himself."

As I so often say ...


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2. Aspects of an Amoebaman: "Merry Harry Marrying"

Asp-2's a tidy little chapter. Fairly straight forward narrative, not too much in the way of fay-saying and, even if I do say so myself, captures an era rather well. Boomers somewhat older than me might recognize the templates for Rollicking Rolly and his back-up band. Torontonians probably won't recognize Massey Hall, though. While I was there something like seven years after the events detailed in Asp-2, I have to admit I made up its innards. Might have looked as described; more likely might not have, however. But, hey, who's quibbling? Not me, that's for sure.

Except for some brief Wayfaring in the Wild Weird way back in Moloch circa early '38, I believe this is the first time Sedon St Synne has appeared in person in any of my Web Serials thus far (February 2001). Which is odd considering Sed-son's such a pivotal character in the overall context of the PHANTACEA Mythos. It therefore behooves us, before we get into the heavy duty foreboding that permeates Asp-2, to spend some serious time with him.

And we do, -- rather, I did and you will, once you read it!

Sedon St Synne looked at his daughter by Corona Power peculiarly. "What's that you're wearing around your neck?"

Crystal fingered the black leather choker with the single ruby-like stone in its centre. "Just something my mother sent me. Why?"

He blinked, then sighed in apparent relief. "Oh, nothing. For a minute I thought it was glowing!"

Talk about foreboding. Asp-2's positively fraught with the stuff. That's just a sampler. Here's another one. Make that two or three of them all in one. Not to mention, yet again, ...

Raphael D'Angelo snatched his cane away from Herr Kopf and allowed himself to be led away by daughter Tereza. Not so willingly Crystal went with Sophia, her half-sister, Tere's mother and St Synne's eldest known, still-surviving offspring.

Was no doubt in her mind where, to whom, she was being marched. Like most Antheans, Headmistress Mannering did not believe in corporal punishment. However, having been on the receiving end of some of her more invective-inventive tongue-lashings, Crystal dreaded the next few minutes.

Would have preferred a horse-whipping, sooth said!

It's a party. Folks drink, they argue, they dance. On occasion they even get to waltz with the bride. Which, howsoever short term, sometimes leaves the groom himself looking elsewhere for a prancing partner.

Harry's treacherous brother, Demonites, determined he was overdue for another go round with Belificent. Thus momentarily detached, Harry contemplated returning the favour but his cousin, Thaddeus Hyperenor, beat him to Dem's Hiliarti and Kad's half-sister, Europa Heliopolis, next to Bel the hands down prize in the room, was immediately surrounded by prospective suitors.

He was about to follow Daddy Angelo and Uncle Alex, who had been keeping Europa company almost from the moment Rollicking Rolly struck up the band, into the bar room when his solitariness was solved. Crystal St Synne may have been only fourteen and most of a foot smaller than him but, man, she danced real close.

Let's staunch the flow of the bleeding obvious, shall we?

Belificent D'Angelo-now-Zeross was so happy the music had finally stopped she forgot all decorum and sat down in the middle of the dance floor. Harry offered his hand to help her up but she just squatted there.

"In my next life," she protested exhaustedly, "I'm not going to be born Italian. And, if weddings are just an excuse for being pawed by every randy relative I've got, especially from your side of the bed, I'll be all in favour of common law marriages."

"I doubt the Church would approve," suggested Harry. "Come up. You're looking undignified. People are staring."

Bel resolutely remained rooted to the floor. "Why don't I just stay here and strip off naked. Then the photogs'll get off my back, and you can get on it. At least for a few days."

"Days, we'll have together in plenty. Right now it's the minutes we have to endure. It'll be over soon. Come on. Get up. Smith, Smythe, or Schmidt will drive us out of here before the rest of them drive us crazy."

"Promise?"

"Promise!"

Belificent extended her hand. Harry hauled her to her feet.

Promises are easy to make, aren't they?

Hadrian Dis L'Orca gave Angelo Zeross a playful slap on the back. "Where are they off to, Mr. Ambassador?"

"Where do you think, Mr. Under-Ambassador? Niagara Falls of course."

I promise you they won't make it anywhere near long enough to need anything like Viagra!


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3. Aspects of an Amoebaman: "Leandro Dies Again"

No staunching of the bleeding obvious in this installment of 'Ringleader's Revenge', I'm afraid. It's perhaps past time we got seriously red and we do, -- almost any number of reds, sooth said. Be red-scares, red-hands, redheads, red-baiters, and more than a few red herrings in Asp-3. Mostly, though, it'll be blood red.

In keeping with this synopsis' sanguinary theme, you might recall the Left's old mantra from the Fifties and Sixties: 'Better Red than Dead.' A couple of our characters are about to find out if the opposite holds true. Too bad they won't be able to tell us the answer afterwards.

(Pardon an immediate aside, but we've had carnage incarnadine before in PHANTACEA on the Web, -- notably in 'War of the Apocalyptics' and 'The Trigregos Gambit'. Unlike either of them, however, Rings '60 is akin to its predecessor web-serial, Rings '55 ('Last of the Supranormals'), 'The Moloch Manuoevres' and 'Centauri Island' in that its entirety is not only set on the Outer Earth but most of its major characters have no idea an Inner Earth even exists.

(Certain admittedly self-imposed rules come into play when I write such like story sequences and they apply to Asps One through Six. Suffice to say, therefore, that as a result of these rules those aspects of any Amoebaman who aren't there by end-chapter, end-book either, likely won't be back. As above, these aspects number two.)

The overall title of Rings '60 is 'Aspects of an Amoebaman' and we've already established that Leandro D'Angelo was Amoeba Prime during the '43-'46 period of the Secret War of Supranormals. Even though he was killed in 1946, somewhat less than three years after he was exposed to his maternal grandfather's devaray, in some respects he's three aspects of himself left in 1960. They'd be the so-called Psychic Siblings, once Septupleman now just Trebleman Johann Schmidt, Sean Smythe, and Joan Smith.

(Could include Septuplewoman Barb Black's son in that total? That'd be the boy who inherited her husband's last name, this despite the pHanta-pHact said hubby wasn't his father; had in sooth been dead something like five years by the time Barb got with kid. Well, even if he is, since he's not yet seven, why complicate things non-plotwise necessarily?)

In other respects Leandro's aspects of himself left in the form of aforesaid granddad, Sedon St Synne, his parents, Raphael and Sophia nee St Synne, and a number of his still living siblings, Tereza, Anna Maria, Belificent and John Paul. One might add Estrella Dark, equally late sister Gloriella's daughter by Immanuel Dark while he was still the supra code-named Mr Brilliant, and Crystal St Synne, Sed-son's daughter by Corona Power, as well.

And that's about all I want to say about Asp-3 right this minute.

As I've said any number of times before: Good reading!


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4. Aspects of an Amoebaman: "Belificent's Funeral"

Last time up, primarily as a public service, I went moderately out of my way to avoid too much commentary on the unfortunate, burial-plot-necessary unpleasantness contained in Asp-3. Asp-4's title pretty much let's the proverbial cat out of the rat-bag (not to mention the grave) so, this time up, I promise I'll be as Canada-candid as I dare without ruining the last half of 'Revenge' for everyone else.

(I always try to keep my promises out here in Cyberia. Usually do too. Well, virtually always anyhow. Can't promise you I won't make any more bad puns, though. Especially not when tip-top tricksters are among the main characters in Rings '60. Or Rings '55, for that matter-hatter!)

In Asp-3 we found out WORLD ['The Worldwide Order with the Right to Life and Death'] claimed credit for killing Trebleman Joan Smith. It also claimed credit for kidnapping the newlyweds, Aristotle Zeross and Belificent born D'Angelo.

In Asp-3, we also found out what WORLD, an international criminal agency that was, at least nominally, still around in late 1980 (when the now-completed, four-part 'Launching of the Cosmic Express' series of inter-connected novels took place), wanted in exchange for their release, -- namely, to funnel a great whack of illegitimately obtained ransom money in effect legitimately into various research and development laboratories, mostly of a politically suspect nature, that were already dedicated to trying to decipher the papers, etc., left behind by Jesus Mandam, the Conquering Christ.

The vast majority of this material has been in the hands of Gunther von Alptraum and the still-extant (in 1960) Soviet Supra Supreme since Mandam's death on Salvation Island in 1953. Abe Ryne dutifully paid said ransom (1-million to each of 24 different labs, 24-million in all) and, accordingly, Harry was released. Shockingly, though, Bel wasn't!

A second ransom note was grotesquely tattooed to Smith's now-headless remains, which were found alongside a heavily sedated Aristotle Zeross in the back of an abandoned Bedford Van. It had the same conditions, albeit with a million dollars each going to a different set of 24 separate labs, including one run by Aranyani Nightingale Ryne out of the Houston Academy of Man, but the Great Man couldn't, or wouldn't, cave into pressure and fork over any more big bad bucks, -- especially not to big bad, at least somewhat logically probable persons who, unlike me, did not keep their promises.

Neither would (although he probably could) Alfredo Sentalli, the incredibly obese godson of Raphael D'Angelo, Bel's father. The Fatman, as nearly everyone referred to Sentalli, controlled NCE, New Century Enterprises, from his base in Hawaii, a tiny, tri-peaked islet off the coast of Maui called Centauri Island. And where have we heard that name before?

As its implied, NCE was founded at the beginning of the Twentieth Century. Was founded, interestingly enough, by Abe's father, Charan Ryne. Ryne Senior died during the Summoning but his body was preserved and, in the late Thirties, the first Moses Callion apparently used, um, aspects of it in an effort to clone him. I say interestingly because among the labs listed in the gruesome ransom note is Moe II's in Switzerland. And, with a name like that, what might Moe II be?

Might as well tell you, here and now, that WORLD filmed Bel's execution, for that was what it was, and as you might have already assumed Abe Ryne's consequent rage was unbounded. Treblewoman was decapitated so that points to Herr Kopf, Gunther von Alptraum's mute manservant who most agree was an at least semi-successful Callion Clone. Voice on the initial tape detailing WORLD's demands sounded like that of Sedon St Synne. Von Alp works for the Soviet Supra Supreme.

Seems obvious, therefore, that all of the above are likely responsible for the Order's actions. And, guess what, chances are they are! Except, for any of them to be at all complicit in any of this evil-doing, it's just as likely they would have had to have been compelled. Because of this there's more talk of blaming the Soviet Supra Supreme but there's an even more aforementioned bleeding obvious suspect, -- the person who was filmed garotting Belificent. That person, if she is indeed a person and not some sort of malevolent possessive spirit that attaches to Anthean witches, was, is ...

The film showed Strife, a not-inexplicably faceless, flare-haired redhead strangling her with a glowing riding crop.

That's how Asp-4 begins. So, if Strife is indeed a malevolent spirit being that possesses mind-bending Ant illusionists (ergo 'not-inexplicably faceless'), which witch has she attached to this time? Ordinarily when we reach this point in a synopsis I'd say ... Won't do it this time partially because Rings '60 still has two more chapters to go. Besides, particularly if you're a lover of good old-fashioned, mayhem, madness & mainly manly mindless massacre sequences, you won't be skipping Asp-4 anyways.

When the coffin touched bottom, frantic rapping was distinctly heard coming from inside it. Harry leapt into the grave and struggled with the lid. [Bruce] Dre'Ath, Big Max [O.J. Maxwell], and John Paul [D'Angelo] jumped in after him. The lid splintered and Belificent reared to her feet. Grotesquely dressed in her wedding dress, the embalmed corpse pointed to Ramona Avar.

"Witch aunt!" it croaked, with surprising clarity. "You killed me. You're Strife!"

(How's that for burial-plot necessities? Can't say I didn't warn you about making more bad puns either.)

So, let's see, thus far this chapter we've got seriously red (two murders for starters), red-scares (the Soviet Supra Supreme), red-hands (those who bear the ultimate responsibility for all this bloodshed), red-baiters (Greygreave Translav), redheads (although Strife's hardly the only one in PHANTACEA who has red hair), and the occasional red herring (all of above, plus little doubt many a more).

We also have Kadmon Heliopolis and his Dragon's Teeth, the Trigon Spartae, the most dangerous men alive in any timeline, in their chronologically first recorded, on the Web, go-completely-crazy demonstration of what, even if they aren't supras as such, they are capable of doing. We feature the duplicitous Maxwells, -- father Jock, son Max, and mother Bonita. (Not that, as we've long known, they're actually blood or even marital relations!) We've Young Life, Young Death, ex-Superior Sorrow, the Ants' current-Superior, aka the Morrigan, and any number of potential, Worldwide Order co-conspirators.

Only thing we're really missing is Ringleader's Revenge. I guarantee that'll come in due course. Aren't missing his rings, though, -- except it isn't Harry wielding them. I'm no mystery buff, and not much of a mystery writer either, so I won't keep you wondering who does wield them. Will keep you wondering who was behind the camera filming Strife/Ramona killing Belificent, however.

(Always assuming there was a Strife in May 1960 and, as the ocular proof seems to indicate, she was indeed Ramona born Avar. Of course, as above, none of this is by any means a certainty.)

Hung around her neck, from a chain-like loop of tiny ruby-coloured beads, was the miracle key. An oddly-shaped glowing device, it was a curved, steel-blue shaft akin to a toy scimitar with a vitreous-yellow crossbar across the lower part of the scimitar-shaft. Depending from the beaded necklace the inverse-cross effect of the combined shaft and crossbar gave it the look of a sacrilegious rosary.

A bas-relief etching in the middle of the crossbar, about where it intersected the shaft, had a vaguely skull-like look to it, -- a skull with three eye-holes somewhat similar to the top of the long missing and presumed dead Old Man Power's Headworld Sceptre. Like OMP's, the central one was more in the brow area than between the two normal eye-holes. Not that there was anything funny about Strife but the joke about it being a glorified skeleton key had been made dozens of times.

No-other-choice compulsion may well be the key to all this. Equally so, I'm here to tell you that the Miracle Key might just be one of those fishy sorts of things I mentioned earlier. A much more productive path to follow, for those of you who are mystery buffs, could be 'glowing riding crop' and 'ruby-coloured beads'!

. . . !


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5. Aspects of an Amoebaman: "Meroudys Two Too Many"

Reason [Demios Sarpedon] was here [in Ramona Ryne's heavily-guarded hospital room] was because of something women not so much could not use as were no longer allowed to, his eye-stave; rather, the eyeorb atop it. Also known as a prison pod, it opened at his mental command. What appeared to be an over-large, solitary eyeball slinked out of it on spindly tendrils and seemingly inspected her. Ray gaped in horror at the sight of it but, Morg having placed her in state of compliant somnolence, did not utter a sound. The rest of them reacted in disappointment.

"Strife got away," said Aran.

"Either that or she was never there," said Superior Sarpedon.

Here's another passage from Asp-5:

"Why's the name Meroudys suddenly playing back to me?" Headmistress [Virginia Mannering] asked her Headmistress [Bonita born O'Ryan, once maritally a Galvin, now sort of Maxwell].

"How would I know? Only Meroudys I've ever heard of's from a fairy tale."

There are fairy-tales about someone named Meroudys. (That I can confirm; I've read at least one of them.) Apparently she was the beloved of a noble-born troubadour who went by the name of King Orfeo. In Classical Mythology their equivalents would be Orpheus and Eurydice, which does sound a little like Meroudys if you repeat it to yourself a few times.

Ginny and Bunnie can be forgiven for not being able to place the name but we've heard it previously in Revenge, haven't we? (Happens at the very end of Damnation Day, if you missed it. I'd quote the section directly but I'm shy about using that kind of language in a synopsis.)

Recall, if you will, back in Rings '55 Abe Ryne's then fiance, now wife (wife in Rings '60 anyhow), Ramona Avar, has just shot Aranyani Nightingale, Ryne's supposed daughter by first wife Eden, through a closed door. Fortunately for both of them it's non-fatally but Aran's understandably more than a mite miffed at having been so rudely greeted by her latest potential stepmother.

Aran recognized Ray for who she actually was and called her Meroudys (among other things). Who she actually is, was, (apparently is-was anyhow), is, was, ... well, for reasons noted above, I can't quote Hush Mannering directly but here's what I will allow myself copy and paste:

"I wasn't talking about Miracle's Meroudys. I'm talking about this Meroudys, Eden Nightingale!"

Thus we do indeed have two 'Meroudyses' in Asp-5. One is Meroudys Maenad (the then-current Ramona Avar, who's actually Cybele St Synne's daughter); the other is Meroudys Artha, a Nightingale if ever there was one, -- or two! What we don't have is any sign of Ringleader and only a little inkling as to whom he might ultimately be obliged to revenge himself upon for Joan Smith and Belificent's murders.

That'll come!


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6. Aspects of an Amoebaman: "Hellion Harry Harrowing"

Let's be perfectly clear at the outset of this, my final last time up for 'Ringleader's Revenge', that claiming credit is not, morally speaking, exactly the same as actually being responsible for actions for which you've claimed credit. Neither is it the same as accepting responsibility when you're called to task for the consequences of said actions.

Under the law, though, you instigate criminal activities you should be held accountable for their totality, right? With that in mind I thought I'd remind you that, although plausible deniability may be a relatively recent term, it's not a recent concept.

So, that said, who is the big bad guy behind WORLD[?] Rather, upon whom might Rings ultimately be obliged to revenge himself for Treblewoman and Bel's murders[?] Easiest way to find out is, of course, to read Asp-6. Once you've done that, have some fun and play my version of fill in the [-]. Then, if you're so inclined, enter Anheroic Fantasy's Second Non[-]Contest and score yourself some genuine non[-]prizes!

[-] is killed on [-]. However, [-] has left his [-] behind with the [-] and his uncle, [-], will go to almost any lengths to get hold of them. (Well, almost any lengths[!]) [-] also knows all about these [-]; knows more than that, -- knows where the technology behind them came from originally, [-], and figures they belong to her people as much if not more so than they do to anyone else.

What use are [-], though, if no one can make what's detailed on them work? So [-] and [-] combine forces, just as they had at least once before, and set things up such that some serious, albeit perhaps dubious in terms of their political affinities, definitely financially strapped and, all too often, distinctly whacko-scientists can get seriously to work on deciphering them. First big problem is no one reputable, not even [-], can legitimately justify funding these looney tunes. Hence, it has to be done illegitimately. Hence, again, [!]

As much as professionals can be relied upon, [-] figures [-] should be ensured in case they either somehow bugger up ([-] sort of does and sort of doesn't) or, even though they're extremely well paid from the outset, those behind [-], including [-], get even more greedy. (Which they may or not do.) [-] agrees then goes a step further and seeks to [-] their cooperation.

To do so [-] opts for using [-]-methods, a [-] no less. [-] manufactures a facsimile [-]. [-]brings it, via the [-], to [-] and in doing so may or may not have contracted [-] and passed it/her onto [-] (whom we now know is actually [-]) or, perhaps just as likely, passed it onto a deeply jealous, not to mention dangerously disturbed [-]. Whereupon things started going seriously sideways!

By the time [-] finds all this out, [-] has dispatched [-] to try to sort out [-]. Which is how [-] get involved and [-]'s precious [-] is yet again compromised. Somehow [-] finds out what's going on as well. Decisions are made, [-], such as it is, is exacted, and this is how [-] ends:

Gynosphinx: "Been a while, Superior."

Morrigan: "Ex-Superior, thanks to you. What possessed you anyhow? And don't tell me it was Strife because I know devils can't possess the likes of you any more than they can the likes of me. Yet you're the one who got me to release her. Why?"

Gynosphinx: "I'm a Pandemonium kind of gal-ghoul."

Sovereignity: "You're an abomination is what you are. And don't be too concerned about me. I'll live."

Gynosphinx: "Meaning I won't."

Morrigan: "Meaning you don't. Never have. Do her, Harry!"

At least that's how [-] ends for now[!]

If your web-browser's up to it, [-] are semi-sort-of filled in . [.] .


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Ringleader's Revenge: Last of the Supranormals

NOTE: There's a Peculiar Perspectives photo essay on the Ephesian Heads Stone, from which these heads were isolated, here

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