Within the Giant Black Castle atop the Windswept Hill a dark spell was spiraling upwards to its climax.
The master of the castle, a spindly figure in a moth-eaten black robe, was utterly focused on his dark weaving. The spell he had fashioned
was one of his finest yet - certain to rend the hearts of any who encountered it.
His cauldron (his pride and joy) was a hollowed out dragon skull with the skin of a misfortunate demon providing the inner seal. The
sinister spell-brewing pot was frothing angrily now and the eye-sockets of the dead dragon glowed balefully. Reddish-white smoke
swirled around the cauldron, giving off the bitter-sweet reek of angst.
"A little Shattered Innocence to break the heart," Laersyn mumbled, sprinkling white dust into the mixture. "Some newt skin for a twist of
agony..." He snatched a perching lizard off a shelf and scraped a few scales into the noxious mixture. The much-put-upon newt glared at him
when he was returned to his shelf and then turned his back. "And lastly, a shard of Dream, for hope."
The dark writer smiled and dipped his black chainsaw into the cauldron, stirring in a slow, steady rhythm. His story formed in his
mind, taking on dimension and scope. He willed it to grow larger, to take on its own life, beckoning it forth from the dark underbelly of
Subreality groaned as another Laersyn tale took form.
Words tumbled forth. shaping the story into the dark pattern that was his trademark. Misery and regret came to look over his shoulder,
whispering their blessings upon the writer’s work. Laersyn heard them and exulted, feeling sentences form and interweave.
Then he heard music and he paused.
It was too far away to make out clearly. It had to be someone at the gate, then. He would not - could not, really - take the time now. The
spell was at a critical point. He would deal with the solicitors or whatever they were when he was done. Now, his spell was too critical
for him to step away. There was no telling what it might do if he left it unattended at this point.
Laersyn re-focused, chanting louder and louder as the power of his imagination grew into a coldly burning fire within him. Lightning
sliced open the heavens outside, encouraging his dark machinations with their thunderous voice. The cauldron began to glow a ghostly
blue, boiling over and spilling a dark goo on the floor.
"And now, Katherine Pryde and Peter Wisdom...Fade to Black," he breathed.
The floor pulsed and thrummed under him as the story took wing and went off to victimize the unwary. The blood-colored smoke billowed
forth, issuing from his window and into the stormy night.
Then the chamber grew immeasurably dark. The cauldron became silent and the balefire light showing out of it vanished. The writer paused,
his shoulders slumping in weariness.
He needed some chocolate chip cookies, a tall glass of cold milk, and about two hundred years of sleep.
But there was still so much more to do... His brain pulsed and throbbed as he weighed all the ideas, all the evil yet to be wrought...
The music drew his attention again. Who could it be? Who would dare come calling at the door of Laersyn the Accursed?
The dark-garbed writer shuffled out of his inner sanctum, the Creation Chamber, wondering who could be pestering him now. His only suspicion
was that it might be the Kitarra. The sprites were just the sort to show up at his door singing.
Laersyn paused in his chapel to thank Her Holiness for blessing him this night. Her symbol, the dictionary, hung upside down on the wall,
for his mistress was the Dark Side of the Scribe. The Goddess Kielle had two faces; one that radiated warmth and sunshine to all the
denizens of Subreality... and another that wove the most brutal and cruel stories ever. He believed that her Dark Side was the true way.
Laersyn knelt in the broken glass before her altar, offering his pain in homage to the glory that was Her’s. He bowed his head humbly,
praying softly to his idol. Silently he thanked her for the guidance and wisdom she had granted him to cast his spell. The reverie of her
presence washed over him in response, assuring him that he had done well. He cradled his chainsaw in his arms and was silent.
The music grew louder. He could make out the disgusting rhythm.
It was happy.
"By Cyclops’ bronzed balls! Who would dare...?"
Laersyn left his chapel and stormed down the hallways. The ghosts of his fictive victims rose from the walls and grasped at him.
Wolverine’s headless corpse loomed in front of him, but he pushed through it, having no time for the antics of the spirits haunting his
Down the winding stairs, through several secret doors and over a suspension bridge that stretched across the home of his pet
alligators, the master of the castle proceeded to his front door.
Outside his door he found a veritable gaggle of beings - not all of them were people, he could tell - each radiating a nauseating
Leading them was a girl - or woman, he could never tell with the fae folk - of slender build and outrageously long, pointed ears. Her
golden blonde hair hung down over her buxom breasts in a comfortably straight curtain, hanging just slightly in front of her wide blue
"I believe you want Celendra’s mind. She’s down a few blocks and on the left." he murmured.
"Are you Laersyn?" she asked with all the awe of a child.
She really was quite exceptionally adorable.
"Ewwwww..." the writer thought in revulsion.
"I gave at the office," he muttered and started to close the door.
She hugged him. She hugged him. He could feel the love and warmth just oozing off of her in unstoppable waves.
"Ow! Ye gods, witch, let go!" he snarled and squirmed away. His robes were smoked where she had touched him and he could feel blisters
forming on his skin.
"It’s him," the elven girl chirped brightly. "Hit it boys!"
A guitar was strummed and then the invasive merry-makers broke out into song.
"Mommy told me something
a little kid should know
It's all about the devil
and I've learned to hate him so..."
"Arrgh!" Laersyn cried out. "I’ll fix you!" he swore.
His chainsaw - the symbol and center of his power - revved into high gear. He had no idea who these fictives were or why they had chosen to
assault him, but it did not matter. He would brook no attack in his own castle.
The chainsaw suddenly became a huge plush teddy bear.
Laersyn hissed and dropped the weapon-turned-plushy, stunned by the arcane might he was facing.
"She said he causes trouble
when you let him in the room
He will never ever leave you
If your heart is filled with gloom..."
Laersyn backed off, sensing nothing but defeat here. There were other parts of his castle where his power was greater. Places that would,
consequently, hamper the joy-born powers of these invaders.
He would yet win the day.
He bolted down into his private dungeon, seeking solace in the core of his power. Jean’s ghost - a bloody, ragged thing - rose up before him,
but he did not pause. The damnable shades were always pestering him when he had more important things to worry about. They were, he was
certain, enjoying his discomfort.
He would punish them later.
"So let the sun shine in
Face it with a grin
Smilers never lose
and frowners never win...
So let the sun shine in
face it with a grin
open up your heart and let the sun shine in."
"Witch!" he hissed and slipped into a side chamber.
On the door was a plaque that read "Ghost" by Kielle.
Once inside, the sorrow and regret soaked into the story washed over him, acting as a balm for the wounds he had suffered. The story played
around him like a 3-D movie, each image repeating over and over steadily, comforting him with misery.
Laersyn took a deep breath and collected himself.
Someone had sent this Harbinger of Doom, but who? The only writer insane enough and possessing a demented enough imagination was...well,
The door exploded inward.
" When you are unhappy
the devil's wears a grin
but oh he starts to running
when the light comes pouring in."
"So I'm running already!"
Laersyn slipped through a secret door and ran down his Corridor of Echos.
Little things used to mean so much to Shelly. I always thought they were kind of trivial...
Take care of my little girl. That’s your job now...
Sometimes being young is a lot less fun than being dead...
He exists only in my memory...
This...is the death...I’ve always wanted...all for one...
You said you’d always be there for me...but you’re not, and it’s because of me. It’s my fault...it’s my f...
Look at him! That’s my brother god damn it!
"I know he'll be unhappy
'Cause I'll never wear a frown
Maybe if we keep on smiling
He'll get tired of hanging round..."
"I can’t believe I’m running away in my own castle," Laersyn remarked to himself bleakly.
Yet run he did, for the insidiously happy music burned in his ears like hot oil and cankered his heart without mercy. The sappy, chirpy
house-breakers followed him with idiotic grins on their faces, singing all the way.
The writer skidded to a halt and whirled, his skeletal hands raised. He summoned his dark inspiration to him. The pain and misery that was
his domain eddied around him, ready to do the master’s bidding.
"Try a little undistilled ‘Devil’s Due’!" he snarled and sent waves of angst-ridden, gore-laden shadows at the intruders.
The pursuers paused and the damnable music quieted...but only briefly. Then the darkness shredded apart like old paper, bursting outward
from the shining glow of his tormentors.
"If I forget to say my prayers
the devil jumps with glee
but he feels so awful awful
when he sees me on my knees..."
"If he saw you on your knees, he’d feel far from awful," Laersyn shouted defiantly. "He’d take his big-"
The singers rang out in song, overpowering his voice.
"So if you're full of trouble
and you never seem to win
just open up your heart and let the sunshine in..."
Laersyn fled, feeling fear now. The relentlessly cheery invaders were invincable. unstoppable. It was as if all things happy in sub-reality
had decided to descend upon him and put a stop to his dark machinations.
The writer fled deeper into his dark tunnels, going to the most secure place he could think of...the Hall of Senvik.
The Hall was a long chamber decorated with dusty portraits. The closest was of a young girl holding a white cat. Power - dark power -
issued forth from that painting.
Other portraits lined the stone walls, lending him strength from their inherent tragedies.
And it was not enough.
"So let the sun shine in
Face it with a grin
Smilers never lose
and frowners never win…"
The raiding party stormed in, bringing sunlight and rainbows and cotton candy along with them. The portraits dried and cracked and
turned to dust, as powerless against the barbaricly cheerful attackers as Laersyn himself was.
"Urk," was his rather uninspired comment.
Laersyn grabbed a crystal ball and sent a panicked call through it, conceding that he was in dire need of help.
A stubbled, handsome face appeared in the scrying glass. "Oui, mon ami?"
"Remy! I need help."
He hated asking a fictive for help - it was degrading - but there were few enough people left that owed him favors.
The thief's expression was frankly incredulous. "Did you say you need my **help**?"
"Yes! You owe me, remember? Jean..."
The rogue grinned toothily. "Oui, dat was some sweet tail."
"Yes, yes...enough of that. I need you get some intruders out of my house."
"Course, den you had Scott find out and kick my ass..." the cajun reflected.
"What? I...I never finished that story!"
"Non, not yet...but you might if you get out of dis jam..."
"No! I wouldn't do that..."
"Den of course, dere is what you did to de ot'er Remy..."
Laersyn was about to respond when a blast of rainbow light shattered the crystal ball into dandelion fluff.
"Right, I'm outta here," Laersyn muttered and ran for another secret passage.
A conveniently-placed teleport gate had him back in his Creation Chamber. This was his last stand, the last and only hope. He had to
try and write himself out of this mess.
Frantically, he tossed ingredients into the cauldron. His lips were bone dry from terror now. None of his simple magic was working. That
forced him to wonder if his Dark Lady had abandoned him. He feared that such might just be the case.
"So let the sun shine in
face it with a grin
open up your heart and let the sun shine iiiiin!"
A rainbow blast shattered his cauldron.
Laersyn whirled, his eyes narrowing on the small girl who had destroyed his treasure. She stood just in front of the elven girl, no more than a child. Yet he knew her, and he knew her arcane and dangerous power. Her garish outfit and strawberry blonde hair confirmed his darkest suspicions.
"Rainbow Bright," he snarled hatefully. "I always knew it would be you in the end."
The girl smiled winsomely. "And not just me."
A platoon of plump teddy bears in an array of colors stepped forward, their fuzzy faces beaming.
"Oh no..." Laersyn muttered.
"All right everybody, care!"
Laersyn scrambled out of the way of the blast of pure goodness, but not quite quickly enough. His shoulder smoked, stinging from where the shot had nicked him. He could almost feel the poisonous goodness coursing through him.
A small horse with cherubic little wings appeared and fluttered up next to him.
Laersyn tried to back away. "Oh no, not the pega-colt from Disney's Hercules! Even you would not stoop-"
The baby pegasus licked him on the cheek.
Laersyn stumbled and fell back, reeling from the relentless assault of happiness and cheer. There was no salvation, no chance for help.
"We have him now!" the elf cheered.
"Happy happy joy joy, happy happy joy joy..." they started singing.
The raiding party started singing insanely, filling the castle with their ebullient music. Their voices were sweet as honey, pure and beautiful.
Laersyn crumpled to his knees and held his ears.
The ghosts of Laersyn's Keep joined in with the song. Colossus, Betsy, Ororo and Beast linked arms and did a little dance, their ghostly forms glowing warmly now.
"No! None of that!" Laersyn snapped, batting futilely at the spirits.
"Happy happy joy joy, happy happy joy joy...."
Laersyn was blasted back into a wall, screaming. He fell to the ground limply, smoking and twitching. There was no escaping, he kept thinking...no way to defend himself. He could not take anymore.
The stony muscles of his face cracked and split, sundering his habitually dour expression. He tried to stop himself, but he had expended his willpower in this battle and he was exhausted. He could not withstand the magic.
And Laersyn smiled.
And the castle exploded.
Every brick, every scrap of wood, *everything* completely disintegrated like it had been hit by a tactical nuke.
Above the fire and smoke spun a single object - a large teddy bear. As it whirled on its axis, it changed, returning to its original form: a black chainsaw.
It spun in the air for a long time, defying any laws of subreality that might have chosen to argue with an inanimate object that was levitating itself. Only when the smoke cleared did it fall - like a shooting star, straight to earth.
It landed in a large grey stone - all that remained of the castle -and imbedded itself to the hilt.
Upon it, these words appeared:
Whosoever can pull this chainsaw
from its stony sheath shall be
the new Overlord of Darkness.
And somewhere, far off, music could be heard...
"Happy happy joy joy, happy happy joy joy..."
The "Let the sun shine in" song is from the Flintstone cartoon, brought into my twisted brain by the Frente version that appears on the "Saturday Morning Cartoons" CD. I don't know who wrote it, but it wasn't me.
"Happy Happy, Joy Joy" is from Ren and Stimpy, and presumably was written by that shows creators.
Gambit, Logan Jean and the other X-characters are property of Marvel - though these versions are my own personal victims.
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