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Welcome to a Synopses Page for 'The Trigregos Gambit' Web Serial

- Top of Page Search Engine - 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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- Jim McPherson's phantacea Online -

Logo for Phantacea reads Anheroic Fantasy since 1977

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



Heads in a cliff on Saturna Island, taken by Jim McPherson 1994

- B.C.'s Saturna Island -


Web Serials





© copyright Jim McPherson, 2003
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Bulk of page written: Fall 2000


-- Chapter-by-chapter Synopses of 'The Trigregos Gambit' --

9. "The Susasword"

10. "The Crimson Corona"

11. "The Damnation Brigade"

12. "Farewell, Great Byron"

13. "Sraddha Isle"

14. "The Dead and The Damned"

15. "Trigregos Triumphant"

16. "Dust Devils"

17. "Coda"


9. The Trigregos Gambit: "The Susasword"

First of all, given the chapter's title, one might suspect someone gets hold of the Body of Demeter, the second of the three Trigregos Talismans, this time around. As it happens one would be wrong but, as to that someone, remember that character I at least once suggested you may have thought would never turn up again?

If you want to find out more about him, a good place to look would be one of this time up's installments of 'Helios on the Moon'. In Trigregos, he is of course Vetala's Soldier. But, in most of the rest of PHANTACEA, he was Cosmicaptain Dmetri Diomad. (Should I have said: 'probably was Dem's Dim'? Probably!)

It was, not at all probably, Cosmicaptain Diomad's cosmicar that ended up empty on Damnation Island last Sunday, November 30, 1980; the one, as recounted in an earlier chapter of Centauri, that Blackguard and his rude-mouthed comrades so ill-fatedly attempted to retrieve from the very same Outer Earth Aleutian Islet later on that week.

As we now know, to say Diomad's cosmicar ended up beyond the Cathonic Dome empty would not be altogether accurate. If it had been empty, there'd've been no Apocalyptics. Not to mention any Damnation Brigade to be blown up by the duelling duo, the Dual Nuclei, later on today, Devauray, Tantal 6, 5980 Year of the Dome, on the Inner Earth.

A few months ago, non-Cyberian time, we found out what went on with the so-called Alphabet Cosmicompanions E, F, & G. Shortly thereafter, we learned about Cosmicompanions A, B, & C. We thus know that the latter three were possessed by demon-devas while they were in Cathonia (namely the so-called Cousins, the original owners of the Three Sacred Objects) and it's therefore a relatively safe bet that the first three, the ones Nergal Vetala made a meal of, were as well.

So far there's been no evidence that 'D' (Dem's Dim, as Diomad's not so affectionately referred to throughout much of PHANTACEA -- Dem being his father's name and Dim being a diminutive of Dmetri) was similarly possessed. Turns out he might have been however. We meet whom it was by (maybe) this time up. Name's Kala Tal and, if she had been cathonitized, the Spidery Devil's had the good fortune to be decathonitized in her own protectorate. (That is to say in the Forbidden Forest of, you guessed it, Tal.)

Turns out also that not only is she the Mithradic breed sister of Nergal Vetala and (maybe again) Mater Matare, Mother Murder from over in Apocalyptics, the arachnoid's a long history -- unless it's a four-armed herstory -- with the Thirty Year Man, a deviant better known as Jordan Tethys or, even more commonly, as the Legendarian.

And, last we saw of 30-Beers, he was tangling with his erstwhile buddy, Ringleader. Not that any of this has much to do with Gambit. Just thought I'd mention it is all. While I'm at it, I might as well mention that the arachnid (whose fourth pair of appendages seem to extend from her forehead) doesn't have a great deal to do in Gambit either.

Nor do, other than perchance biting the big, bat-bastard biscuit, a bunch of other characters including Andaemyn Sarpedon, whom we meet in this chapter. One who does though is Kronokronos Susano Mikoto, whom you would have read about in War.

Even though, this time up, we'll hear a lot about the Japanese warlord, in particular his relationship with the once and future Kronokronos Supreme, we'll hear even more about him next time. Which is when we'll also rejoin War. Albeit howsoever briefly, -- and with an entirely different perspective on the events that took place in the Faerie Garden in that book. It's not that, in Susasword, I'm rewriting anything that's gone on before. (I'm not.) It's just that one series' protagonists oft-times are another series' antagonists.

As to what I wrote at the outset -- to the effect that, given the chapter's title, one might suspect someone gets hold of the Susasword -- I have to admit I was being only a mite premature. Got to give the aforementioned Legendarian, Warrior Priest Thartarre Sraddha Holgatson (Barsine's baby), Young Death, King Cold, the Scarlet Seeress, and the Thanatoids of Lathakra's Haunted Angel a bit more time in the spotlight first.

Not to mention the devil I keep forgetting to mention!

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10. The Trigregos Gambit: "The Crimson Corona"

As promised, albeit howsoever briefly, we do rejoin War this time up. And, as one might expect given the chapter's title, someone does get hold of the Amateramirror. Gets hold of the Susasword too, -- finally!

Not surprisingly it's that same someone I keep suggesting you may have thought would never turn up again. Is and it isn't, that is. Which is to say it is Vetala's Soldier. Which would go a long way to answering who those annoying, otherwise nameless, characters were that caused Wilderwitch and the Awesome Akbar so much consternation towards the end of War.

Of course Vetala's Soldier had to get the three Trigregos Talismans from someone and, by the time he does, one of those someones is no longer the Witch. Who then?

Well, it's not the born-replicated Japanese warlord I also promised we'd hear even more about this time up. And we do, -- including, among other things, more about his long relationship with the once and future Kronokronos Supreme. Hear how Kronokronos Mikoto dies as well. (Which of course is why we'll be hearing even more from him come ENDGAME-Gambit)

Is Datong Harmonia, the one-time Unity of Balance, she who figured so prominently in PREGAME-Gambit. (You knew she was returning, didn't you?) Only, after nearly 500 years of being pinned to a slab of Brainrock in the Crystal Mountains by the Susasword, she's no longer feeling very harmonious. In fact, she's so out of kilter she's changed her name to Freespirit Nihila. As in Nihilism!

All in all, there's stacks of stuff in this chapter. Stacks of characters too. Besides Vetala and her soldier, Wilderwitch and Akbarartha, Ringleader and Freespirit Nihila, we've the usual group of recurring reprobates: the likes of the Legendarian, the one-armed Warrior Priest Thartarre, Young Death, King Cold, the Scarlet Seeress, and that devil I keep forgetting to mention.

In terms of Gambit, while it's not quite yet ENDGAME for Andaemyn Sarpedon and her mercenary buddies, -- including the Tethys Twins and Alastor Molorchus, whom we've only just met --, oddly enough, especially given what happens to him this chapter, it isn't necessarily so for a certain Japanese warlord either.

Why's that, you might ask? Though I've already hinted at it up above, the answer's actually in this chapter. It, if not Kronokronos Mikoto himself, might also be found over in Centauri Island. And so might another character who semi-sort of makes her debut in Gambit this time up. As does, wait for it, -- Demon Land!

What with such a plethora of characters you'd think it would be more than just Andy and her buddies walking off into Gambit's sunset come end-chapter. Generous guy that I am, I'm pretty sure you'd be right to think that too!

A Gypsium hoop appeared beneath the Unity's feet. Before she realized what was happening to her, she'd fallen through it and was halfway across the Hidden Continent.

"Harmonious landings, Balance," laughed Aristotle Zeross in the Faerie Garden. "Wherever you land!" He bent to pick up the Crimson Corona.

Vetala's Soldier wasn't dead!

Wait a minute! Am I telling you it's ENDGAME for Ringleader? Can't be. Especially not after I made such a big deal out of him being Gambit's primary protagonist not all that long ago.

What can I tell you other than I get bored easily. I mean, -- answer me this: what else could I do with a character whose only seemingly supra-talent is the ability to cast Gypsium teleportals except repeat that which I've done with him previously?

Other than kill him off of course!

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11. The Trigregos Gambit: "The Damnation Brigade"

What did I do last time? Kill off Ringleader? Apparently anyhow. So, not content with just that, how do I begin this chapter? By killing off that same someone I keep suggesting you may have thought would never turn up again, naturally. And there is nothing apparently nor anyhow about his death. (Note, though, I did not say 'passing' and believe me, as in the case of a certain Japanese warlord referred to recently, there is a distinction.)

PHANTACEA is fantasy, albeit of the anheroic variety, so you should not be overly surprised as to who else reappears this time up. Won't tell you here, not right now anyhow, -- though the title of this chapter does kind of give it away. You'll have to read the chapter to be sure. Will tell you that 30-Beers is back and so's Thartarre, the one-armed High Priest of the Brown-Robed Sraddhites, self-proclaimed Heroes of the Living that these Brown-Robes consider themselves to be.

Some of the others returning are the Four Apocalyptics, the Vultyrie, and Demon Land from War. Someone who isn't is Dand Tariqartha, the devic overlord of Temporis, also from War. Well, he's back and then he isn't, more correctly. Lakshmi of Lemuria is another, dot-ditto. Then again, maybe it isn't for long either.

As for the Thanatoids of Lathakra and the Smiling Fiend, the devil I keep forgetting to mention, they're here too. Make that four, -- no, five --, in the case of the Thanatoids. That old (three) green-eyed monster Envy's coming to the fore, however, and you can look forward to all three of the Master Devas (not the eyes, nor the Sinistral) not being here for much longer. That I can guarantee you! (A couple of them might move over to 'Helios on the Moon' though.)

By now you've cleverly figured out who else is back this chapter but, especially if you're new to PHANTACEA on the Web, you might not realize that when they were last seen, in 'War of the Apocalyptics', they were being wiped out, one by one. Guess what? They still are!

That's because what we have this time up is a 1-chapter 'selected' condensation of War's second half. As the Web's War-free right now, -- and has been for a couple of years --, you might want to go back and check out its synopsis. I promise you a detailed inventory of the casualties next time around but, as I forewarned you it would a long time ago, kindly regard this chapter as picking up where War left off.

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12. The Trigregos Gambit: "Farewell, Great Byron"

Been shuffling the deck of character cards again, haven't I? As promised last time up, what follows is a list of who's left and, more to the present point, who you can look forward to seeing some more of in 'The Trigregos Gambit'.

The title refers to one of the Three Great Gods, the Unmoving One; he who, as recounted in 'Forever and Forty Days', has nothing left but his over-inflated head, -- hence, the Byronhead. He doesn't, by the way. That is to say he only survives as a star in the Sedonic Night's Sky. Thus it's definitely ENDGAME for the aforesaid Unmoving One.

Is a distinct dick-dildo for Carcinogen the Leper as well. He goes out wonderfully well though, even if I do say so myself. Much more fittingly than he went out, howsoever gloriously, last time up. Rather, back in War.

Someone else who does dirty dog ditto in the seemingly ENDGAME department is a character you likely never expected to see in 'The Launching of the Cosmic Express' story sequences; a character who has only appeared previously, at least when comes to PHANTACEA on the Web, in 'The Moloch Manoeuvres'. This is Tyrtod von Blut, Tanith Silverhair's father.

Which is moderately interesting because there's a lot of talk about Pyrame Silverstar, the Pauper Priestess, this time around as well. And if you're wondering what's interesting about that, you obviously have not read 'The Volsung Variations' yet. Oh, by the way, I wrote seemingly ENDGAME a few sentences ago because, you see, Tyrtod von Blut's already dead.

Which means, -- ah, but since you've read 'Centauri Island' and figured out what my earlier references to a certain born-replicated Japanese warlord's fate have to do with the price of toffee, I don't have to tell you what it means. Would recommend you revisit the description of a certain other, spookily Pani mercenary buddy of the Tethys Twins and Andaemyn Sarpedon by the name of Alastor Molorchus from a few chapters back, though.

If last time up was a 1-chapter 'selected condensation' of War's second half, this time up begins with a condensed summary of Great Byron's appearances thus far, -- and no further. (Or have I already suggested as much?) In keeping with everything else in Gambit it's action packed, particulary its latter half. Lots of other stuff in here though.

What's particularly good about this chapter is that it was based on scripts I was writing for PHANTACEA when it was still just Anheroic Fiction Illustrated; that is to say, a comic book. Which means it's as violent, if not more so, as War's rear end. In retrospect I should have taken up a career designing videogames, -- because, given him playing his part slightly differently, Plague might have won!

Had I, -- and I didn't --, I'd've called it 'Headgames'. These days I truly hope to (ultimately) call it: 'Jim Finally Cashes In!'!

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13. The Trigregos Gambit: "Sraddha Isle"

Here's my dictionary's definition of casualty (ties): 'One who or that which is destroyed, injured, or otherwise made ineffectual through (combat) action'. It's a pretty wide-ranging definition, you'll agree, and applies to a number of characters who have been thus far featured throughout large sections of 'The Launching of the Cosmic Express' story sequences.

Turns out though, no big surprise here, it wasn't ENDGAME for Ringleader a few chapters ago, after all. Turns out also Rings is the main reason it wasn't ENDGAME for the Damnation Brigade either. Some of them do fit the definition of 'casualty(ties)', however. Here's how it goes for them:

A doctor himself, Ringleader [Aristotle Zeross] didn't need to explain who needed help or in what order. He had interned with some of them [Trinondev Scientocrats], trained most of the younger ones, and the older ones, the vast majority, given Utopian life spans, had been his teachers. Obviously Cerebrus David Ryne was near-terminal, Wilderwitch critical, and Gloriel D'Angelo Dark serious.

Since we've already lost both the Elemental Twins, that leaves five members of the Damnation Brigage still around, -- at least for now. They are Blind Johnny Sundown, Raven's Head, the Untouchable Diver, Wildman Dervish Furie, and the Awesome Akbar (Old Man Power or Obadiah Melvin . . .). Even adding Ringleader to their number, we're still only at the beginning of our list of our still active protagonists.

All in all, in terms protagonistical, we've quite the Gathering of Diversity this chapter. Just about every 'good guy' (or gal) I've ever featured in PHANTACEA on the Web, those whom I haven't already killed off anyhow, -- as well as a few I did away with previously but whom didn't take kindly enough to it to stay end-gamed --, come into play.

There's Jordan Tethys again, Kronokronos Mikoto's Five from a couple of chapters ago, some of Centauri's Godbadian cohorts from the PREGAME chapters of Gambit, and even a few leftovers from the Heliodyssey story sequences set 42 years earlier.

These include Saladin Devason, the current Master of Weir, and his year younger sister, Morgianna once Somata now Sarpedon, the Superior Wilderwitch spoke of dreading back on Damnation Island. Also include in this number Andaemyn Sarpedon's aunt, Illuminatus, Melina once Sarpedon now Zeross. Along with her three daughters by Ringleader, she is kidnapped from her Weirdom of Cabalarkon seaside home by devils unknown, -- primarily for reasons that won't be fully revealed until and unless you switch over to 'Helios on the Moon'.

Oh yes, lest we forget, one of my all-time favourites is back as well. None other than Scylla Nereid, Fisherwoman. Which gives me the opportunity to throw in a few of my equally favourite Fishisms. (She's the one who says things like hake-hope and carp-crap on a regular basis. Says whaledreck too, -- but then again so does Wilderwitch, her sister in more than just Flowery Anthea.)

Fish, by the way, has been in and out of more sketch-script-story-scrapes, in more eras, than almost any of my other characters except, perhaps, Helios. Mind you, he keeps getting killed. Truth is, the D-Brigade thought Fish had too. Been killed, that is, -- in 1952, by Sea Goddess no less, and on Centauri Island, just to make matters even more synchronous.

Their only trouble, other than the Diver's delight more so than embarassment at seeing his premarital-ex altogether alive, though not in the altogether (that won't happen for another couple of chapters, assuming they last that long) is that, in terms antagonistical, they've never tangled with Nergal Vetala and Trigregos Incarnate before. Do this chapter though.

And it's only the beginning of a nearly non-stop battle royal that'll carry on right through to the end of the book!

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14. The Trigregos Gambit: "The Dead and The Damned"

For those of you following Gambit's plotline from the original series of comic books, we're finally up to PHANTACEA Six, which was drawn cover to cover by Verne Andru. Since pH-6 was the last comic I published, way back in the late Seventies, it shouldn't surprise you that we're also up to the 'ENDGAME' section of 'The Trigregos Gambit' here in the Year 2-3-Zeroes. (Not to be confused with Zeross.)

Who (King Cold) kidnapped Melina Sarpedon Zeross and her three daughters by Ringleader (Persephone, Helen and Athena) and where they were taken (Lathakra, naturally) is revealed. Antaeor Thanatos, -- Demon Land from, mostly, 'War of the Apocalyptics' --, has made his way to the Frozen Isle and is reacquainted Aires, Airealist of the Damnation Brigade. Who, as we've pretty much known all along, proves to be no D'Angelo whatsoever.

Got a couple more Thanatoids of Lathakra to bring, re-bring rather, to your attention before we get onto the end-chapter fight-fest. These are Klannit, the Mirror Mentalist, the Thanatoids' Haunted Angel who also appears in the later 'Heliodyssey' story sequences, and Sedunihas the Artist. Also the Sculptor.

Their appearances, though, have more to do with 'Helios on the Moon' than Gambit so I won't dwell on them overly long here. Won't dwell on them any more than that, actually. You want action aplenty? As ever-always look no further than PHANTACEA on the Web. It's all here, in this chapter, in all its abundance.

(No All of Incain, though. Last seen a few chapters ago, Invincible'll no doubt show up in Moon and has a major role to play in 'The Volsung Variations'.)

There's Nergal Vetala and Silver Fangs, another one from the later 'Heliodyssey' story sequences as well as earlier on in Gambit. There's more about the spooky Pani, Valhallans, a third Tyrtod and, as was also touched upon the same few chapters ago, just what the hell Death's Angels were up to last Demetray. There's zombies, the Cloud of Hadd (vulturous variety), and at least one Apocalyptic power focus. There's a shape-shifting Raksha-demon, a bit-bite of sex, and someone even swears!

There's far-sight; tons of teleportation; Vetala's Brainrock throne; Dustmound as a middle finger raised to the Sedon Sphere; Freespirit Nihila; Ringleader strutting his stuff (not as much as Trigregos does though); an earthquake; and, at the end of the day, a standoff. (Sorry!)

"Hadd is my protectorate," the Vampire Queen told the six members of the Damnation Brigade atop the nipple-nodule left of Dustmound. "Seek to fight us and you're all dead, -- but not before I satisfy my thirst. Then I'll stake you out somewhere sunny!"

Ringleader cursed inaudibly. "Have it your way, bat. Last chance, Dmetri. You stand with her, you fall with her!"

"I am Trigregos. You are just practise!"

"Fair enough, Dim. You just had your funeral!"

He hadn't!

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15. The Trigregos Gambit: "Trigregos Triumphant"

Titles do tend to say it all, don't they? Don't tell you how many more chapters there are to go, though. So there's hope, isn't there? Of course that would depend on who you're hake-hoping'll win.

Isn't the Damnation Brigade, I can tell you that. They haven't had much success lately. Especially not since coming from the Outer Earth to Sedon's Head. Where once there were ten of them, eleven if you add in Kid Ringo, -- which we did awhile ago --, by end-chapter there's only two still active. And one of them's fast-fading away.

That'd be Yehudi Cohen, the Untouchable Diver. He isn't as quip-witted as he used to be but at least he's still free. So's Fisherwoman and, yes, they do get a little touchy-feelie this time around. (As he says, she's a hell of a butt.) What the Diver touches, other than her halibut, is what gives him fishbait-faith there's more chapters still to come.

One anyhow, -- although whether he comes in it remains to be seen!

What else? Well, the Godbadian air force finally succeeds in seeding the non-Vultyrie Cloud of Hadd, which means the whole chapter takes place in a veritable deluge. Then there's Morgianna Sarpedon lady-lording over the clone, Golgotha Nauroz, Field-Fuhrer of the Utopians' Trinondev Elite, as if she and not her year older brother, Saladin Devason, was the Master of Weir.

There's also Cosmicompanions E, F, & G, from earlier on, -- still vampires, but now decathonitized devas as well. And guess which devils they've become? Time's up! In no particular order, they're the Scarecrow Strawman (Vanthysces, Byron's Reaper); the First Fangs Fop Vladuca; and Zuvem Nergalis, Gravedigger or Devil Doom. All from even earlier on, -- from PREGAME-Gambit, to be precise!

Never one to be left out, the third Nergalid, Yama Nergal, Mithras' Grim Reaper, and his Death's Angels (last seen a couple of installments ago) reappear end-chapter. This due to Rings rising from his near-deathbed and teleportal-ringing Trigregos Incarnate up to the radioactive Ghostlands. So, let me ask you this, -- in a confrontation between the latest Deva Death (not to be confused with King Cold, Devil Doom, or Mother Murder, the Apocalyptic of Death), who do you think's going to win?

Titles do tend to say it all, don't they? Don't say much about the middle Nergalid, though, -- the one who did the growing after the first one did the planting and before the other one did the harvesting. Not to mention the devil I keep forgetting to mention. Here's how it goes with them:

Vetala signalled Kronar ... and hung back, not wishing to expose herself to the Trinondevs and their eye-staves again. Perhaps she should have gone with them. Anything was preferable to dealing with what came out of the air.

"I gave you the chance to dispose of your soldier and his talismans. You chose to ignore me. Now I have returned to exact appropriate repayment!"

Oh, oh!

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16. The Trigregos Gambit: "Dust Devils"

I should assure you at the onset that the title has nothing to do with any kind of Outer Earth vacuum cleaner. Can't even recall if such a thing existed circa 1979 or '80, which was when the comic book script for ph-6, upon which this chapter is based, was written. Probably did when I wrote this draft, the prose version of it, -- but that doesn't mean a hellish hill of jalepeno bean baguettes. Let alone a doughty dough of has-beens, for that matter. Or a mound of decomposed-unto-dust Dead Things, which is where most of the munificent motivity herein described is centred.

Unpublished Wraparound Cover prepared for PHANTACEA Phase One by Verne Andru circa 1987.We're talking Dustmound, naturally. Not that there's anything natural about ambulant Dead Things and even less about still-cognizant Valhallans. Also talking the penultimate chapter of Gambit. Which of course means there will be a bit-bunch-bundle of pre-ultimate ENDGAME, instant has-beens this time up. Might be surprised as to who among them, one in particular, bat-bites the proverbial ...

Which, in turn, means I probably shouldn't be telling you anything more about this chapter. So I won't. Other than how it ends:

Three devas appeared between them. It was the third, a pink-faced mass of darkness in humanoid shape with a broad, evil-looking grin, who spoke.


Recognize who utters pre-ultimate's ultimatum? Thought you might!

Inked but never coloured cover by Verne Andrusiek ca. 1987/8, intended for the phantacea Phase One project, the double-click is of a postcard prepared for the revised version of this web-serial in 2005 by Jim McPherson; Verne (now Andru) also did the cover for Phantacea Publications' "Feeling Theocidal" and "Goddess Gambit"

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17. The Trigregos Gambit: "Coda"

All right, so I lied. Sort of! Smiler's utterance was right on. Should have known that right away, shouldn't you? Devas don't lie! Last chapter marked the real end of ENDGAME-Gambit. All this chapter marks is the end of PREGAME-Gambit, the first chapter of PREGAME-Gambit, to be precise! But, is it really?

Mater Matare inhaled her father's soul. Irisiel Mercherm scooped up Mithras's petrified head and fled to the Isle of the Undying One, a thousand miles away from the Gregarian Fields. Her father, Thrygragos Lazareme, went with her and has slept atop his brother's head ever since.

That is the legend.

The truth has never been told.

Until now!

Or at least until 30-Beers finds another tee-tee, or tee-tee tail, that Tom-Tiddly taddle-tales about Thrygragon!

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The Trigregos Gambit, PREGAME, Chapters 1-4

The Trigregos Gambit, GAME, Chapters 5-8

The Trigregos Gambit, GAME, Chapters 9-13

The Trigregos Gambit, ENDGAME, Chapters 14-17

Graphical Click-Backs

Heads in a cliff on Saturna Island, taken by Jim McPherson 1994Unpublished Wraparound Cover prepared for PHANTACEA Phase One by Verne Andru circa 1987.

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There may be no cure for aphantasia (defined as 'having a blind or absent mind's eye') but there certainly is for aphantacea ('a'='without', like the 'an' in 'anheroic')

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