If you’re reading the Diapered Dandy stories in order, this is the second one. Enjoy!
Diapered Dandy And The Circle Of Thorns
By: Dementia’s Knight
Part I: Darkness In The Heart
Chapter I: Revelations
The mall was bustling with people as they milled about, doing their shopping and having fun with friends and family members. The sun shown brightly outside, making the day nearly perfect for anyone that was paying attention.
A mother and her young daughter walked through the food court on their way out of the mall, hand in hand, daughter giggling happily as her mother looked on smiling.
“Mommy, look at that lady, she’s flying!” the girl shouted with a smile as she pointed to the window, where a young woman could be seen hovering in the distance.
The mother smiled and looked at the woman and then to her daughter. “That’s a hero honey.” she told her awestruck daughter. “Wave to her.” she said.
The girl smiled and waved at the hovering woman with a bright smile on her face.
The hovering woman returned the smile and the wave, the only difference being that she was waving goodbye to the young girl, and her smile slowly turned from happy to menacing as she pointed her free hand toward the mall and charged it with energy.
The mother’s face turned from happy and carefree to concerned as she saw the woman’s demeanor change. She began to pull her daughter close to her and finally picked her up and started to run as the energy blast hit the mall.
“This is one of the worst attacks I’ve ever seen.” Antonio Nash said over the radio unit in his Hazmat suit.
Walking past the charred remains of a woman clutching her child to her to shelter her from the attack Antonio felt sick, he managed to maintain his composure but felt like he needed to get away from this devastation sooner rather than later.
The mayhem stretched the length of the mall, bodies all over the place. The monster that had attacked the mall showed no discrimination, men, women and children no matter what race or age, they all died equally brutally.
“What’s the reading?” Antonio asked one of the Hazmat team members.
“I haven’t seen radiation levels like this since the reactor in Terra Volta went critical a few years ago.” the man said as he studied his equipment.
Antonio Nash sighed, “It’s gonna be a long day.” he thought and left to make some phone calls.
“Open wide for mommy!” Sue said as she held a spoonful of oatmeal up in front of Jesseca’s mouth.
Jesseca complied and took the spoon into her waiting mouth with a smile.
“Good girl!” Sue praised her charge as she wiped some excess oatmeal from the girl’s face and then set to cleaning up the kitchen. “Ok, go play while mommy cleans up honey.” Sue said as she removed the tray from the highchair and helped Jesseca down to the floor.
It had been six months since the incident involving Babbage and Hannah. Jesseca had gone into a deep depression after the realization that her best friend was gone, she’d kind of shrunk into herself and regressed to a near infantile state. Sue had been there to take her in and help her through her tough time. Now, after six months, Sue was beginning to wonder if the real Jessica was coming back.
Jesseca had turned on the T.V. when she’d gotten to the living room, unfortunately cartoons weren’t on the menu this morning, instead the news reports about the mall attack ruled the airwaves. Sue had stopped what she was doing in the kitchen and took to watching the news. The pair sat in shock as they saw the devastation on the screen.
Jesseca studied the screen, a single tear rolled down her cheek as she saw tiny body bags being loaded into the ambulances. “Mommy?” she said to Sue without taking her eyes from the pictures before her.
“Yeah baby?” Sue asked, wiping her own tears away.
Jesseca turned and had a look on her face that Sue hadn’t seen since before Hannah had died. “I wanna go out and play.” she said.
Sue smiled and nodded, “You got it Jess, welcome back.” she said.
“Ladies, I thank you for wanting to help with the investigation, but we honestly have everything under control.” Antonio Nash said as he sat behind his desk looking over the reports of the mornings attack.
“Please Mr. Nash, if there’s anything at all we can do to help, we’ll do it.” Jesseca pleaded to Antonio.
Antonio took of his thin rimmed glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose as he held his head down. “All right, we do have a small lead.” he said and picked up a file folder and passed it over to the two female heroes. “We found a Circle of Thorns dagger amongst a pile of debris at the mall. Fingerprint analysis says the last person holding it was a Mr. Franklin Ives. Go see if you can get anything out of him, address is on the back page.” Antonio finished his brief briefing and turned his chair around to face the window.
“Thank you Mr. Nash, we’ll get all the information we can and report back to you in a bit.” Jesseca said as the pair left the office.
“So, what’s the Circle of Thorns?” Jesseca asked as she and Sue flew over the city toward the address in the file.
“They’re a religious cult, big on sacrifice and mayhem. They’re constantly finding some ancient demon to worship and try to bring to life, they’re a huge pain in the butt.” Sue explained.
“So, you think a demon was what attacked the mall this morning?” Jesseca asked.
“I have no clue, whatever it was, it’s cold and uncaring, and definitely evil and powerful.” Sue said.
The pair flew in silence for a long while, both thinking about what was rapidly becoming a very bad situation as they thought of all the possible things that could have attacked the mall.
“This looks like the place.” Sue said, breaking the silence, as she carried herself and Jesseca through the air near a tall high rise apartment building.
The pair landed on the roof of the building and made their way down a few floors till they got to the floor in the file. “Ok, now we need #856.” Sue said as they stalked quietly down the hall.
As they made their way down the hall, a door at the end of the hall opened and a woman walked out of the apartment. The woman wore a hooded cloak, obscuring her face entirely.
“That’s the apartment we need.” Sue whispered to Jesseca.
The woman stopped in her tracks and slowly turned to face Sue and Jesseca.
“She couldn’t have heard me.” Sue thought to herself.
The woman slowly walked toward them, each step seeming more menacing than the last.
“Ma’am, please stop where you are, we’re heroes, and we don’t want to harm you.” Sue said to the cloaked woman.
The woman rose her hand level to Sue’s body and blasted her with a dose of green energy. The blast hit Sue square in the chest and sent her flying backward through the concrete wall behind her. Sue sailed over the street far below and crashed through the building across the street’s front windows and skidded to a halt amidst broken glass and battered office furniture.
“That wasn’t a very smart thing to do.” Jesseca said through gritted teeth and lunged at the cloaked woman.
Moving with lightning quickness the woman grabbed Jesseca by the throat in midair and slammed her against the wall.
“Who are you?” Jesseca choked out as her air supply rapidly depleted.
The woman slid her cloak off slowly, her long green locks tumbling down her shoulders. The woman smiled in a sickeningly evil way, “Mommy’s back,” she whispered into Jesseca’s ear, “and she thinks you’ve been a very, very naughty girl.”
Jesseca was starting to fade, the combination of the woman choking her and the revelation that the woman was her dead best friend was a little too much to grasp at the moment. “Hannah, how? Why?” she asked as darkness began to creep into her head.
“If you survive to the end, you’ll get your answers.” Hannah said and charged her hand up and blasted Jesseca in the face, sending her crashing through wall after wall and finally out into the cooling afternoon air.
Jesseca slowly opened her eyes, and instantly shut them again as she saw the ground rushing up to meet her. The crushing force of the impact shattered windows a block in every direction and provided a lovely view of the sewers below the street for anyone high enough above the ground level to see into the school bus sized hole.
Hannah looked down at where Jesseca lay motionless in the crater she’d created. Smiling and chuckling to herself Hannah took to the air and flew off, leaving two heroes down in her wake of destruction.
To Be Continued…
Part I: Darkness In The Heart
Chapter II: Unity
“I think she’s coming around.” Jesseca heard a man’s voice say from somewhere in the darkness that was surrounding her.
Jesseca opened her eyes slowly, and as the world came back into focus she saw Dementia’s Knight standing above her, dabbing her forehead with a damp washcloth. “What happened?” she asked weakly.
“We were kinda hoping you could tell us.” he said.
Jesseca sat up slowly and rubbed her temple. Visions of the day’s earlier events flashed through her mind. “It was Hannah.” she said simply.
Dementia’s Knight looked at the man and woman standing next to him. “Are you sure?” he asked in disbelief.
Jesseca nodded slowly, tears forming in her eyes. “If I was ever sure of anything in my life, I’m sure that Hannah is alive, and she’s the one that attacked us.” Jesseca gasped, “Where’s Sue?!” she asked in a panic.
Dementia’s Knight put a hand on the young woman’s shoulder. “She’s in the other room. She took quite a beating.” he told her.
“Can I see her?” Jesseca asked.
Dementia’s Knight nodded and picked Jesseca up, setting her on his hip he carried her into the other room. Sue was laying in a hospital bed, she was hooked up to several machines, and was battered and bruised.
Jesseca wiped her tears away. “We have to find Hannah and stop her.” she said.
Jesseca sat at the large circular table inside Dementia’s Knight’s base with Dementia’s Knight and his two teammates.
“Jess, this is Charisma.” Dementia’s Knight said, pointing to a olive skinned, raven haired woman with a black body suit adorned with various sheathed knives and weapon pouches.
“It is very nice to meet you.” Charisma said in a sweet sounding foreign accent that Jesseca couldn’t quite place.
“And this is Star Streak.” he said, pointing to a tall, silver haired man in a shimmering silver body suit with a black cape.
Star Streak nodded toward Jesseca with a smile.
“The other members of the team are out trying to find some information about the mall attack earlier today.” Knight said. “If Hannah is still alive, we need to stop her before she can do anymore damage.” he said.
The door to the entrance of the base opened and three heroes came into the conference room. The one male hero, a tall, muscular African American with a large battle axe strapped to his back came in and stood at the table. “Knight, we have some information about the attack earlier today.” he said.
“Lemme guess Ataris, Half-Life Hannah was behind the attack?” Knight asked.
Ataris looked at Knight in disbelief. “Some day I’m gonna find out how you do that.” Ataris said.
“Jesseca, this is Ataris, Severe,” Knight pointed to the large African American man, and then to a short near albino woman with white hair that had black streaks in it. “And Arson.” he said pointing to a teenage girl with flaming red hair and glowing eyes. “Together we’re the Warriors Of Justice.” he said proudly.
“It’s nice to meet all of you.” Jesseca said, mustering a small smile. “What did you find out about Hannah?” she asked Ataris.
“We tracked down a mystic with the Circle of Thorns, and he told us that they were behind her resurrection.” he said.
“Any idea why she’s evil?” Knight asked.
Arson nodded. “He told us that they infused her soul with the spirit of a demon overlord named D’argoth. According to him, D’argoth was the ruler of the Netherverse and was the most brutal ruler the Netherverse ever had.” she said grimly.
“So basically we’re screwed?” Knight asked.
“More or less.” Arson said.
“Well we have to at least try to stop her!” Jesseca shouted, startling everyone. “If none of you are willing to try, I’ll do it myself!” she said, and got up from her seat and headed for the exit.
“Jesseca sit down!” Knight shouted. “Going after Hannah alone is suicide and you know it!” he yelled.
Jesseca came back and sat down. “So, what’s the plan then?” she asked sullenly.
“We join forces with any Super Groups that we can to combat Hannah and the Circle of Thorns.” he said, getting nods from the other members of the team.
“Everyone get on the horn to any and all teams you can reach, tell them that we’ll meet tomorrow at the Terra Volta reactor in Independence Port.” Knight said, and watched all the team members part ways to contact the other teams.
Jesseca lay in the hospital bed next to Sue, snuggling into her bosom. “Please wake up mommy.” Jesseca whispered quietly to Sue as tears rolled down her cheeks.
Dementia’s Knight stood outside the infirmary door and watched the heartbreakingly sweet scene play out within.
“We’re getting as many heroes as we can together to fight Hannah.” Jesseca told the comatose Sue.
Sue lay unconscious in the bed while Jesseca lay with her, beginning to suck her thumb and drift off to sleep.
Just as sleep took hold of Jesseca, the side wall of the infirmary exploded, sending her bolting upright. Jesseca watched as Hannah glided into the infirmary slowly.
“Jesseca!” Knight shouted as he opened the door to the infirmary and ran toward Hannah with his sword drawn.
Hannah cast a sideways glance at him, and shot beams of radiation at his sword, melting it in his hand. She then batted him away with a wave of force, sending him crashing into the wall behind.
Jesseca leapt at Hannah from the bed, and was caught in midair by the emerald haired villain.
“Mommy wants to take you for a ride pet.” Hannah whispered into Jesseca’s ear as she kissed the young girl’s forehead, causing her to wince and then pass out.
Knight watched half consciously as Hannah carried Jesseca off into the night. “Jesseca.” he said weakly before passing out.
To be continued…
Part I: Darkness In The Heart
Chapter III: Down And Out In Paragon City
“Severe, Arson, Hannah’s taken Jesseca I need the two of you to go after them!” Knight bellowed into his communicator at the two women. “They left the infirmary heading west about five minutes ago.” he said.
The two women left the base and took to the sky, racing off in the direction Knight had seen Hannah leave in.
“Any chance we’re gonna find them?” Arson shouted to Severe, her body engulfed in flames as she flew alongside the albino telepath who was hovering alongside her in an Indian style position.
“We have to try Arson.” Severe said with her telepathic voice. “I sense Jesseca’s aura up ahead. It’s very faint, but it’s enough to follow.” she said.
The pair saw Hannah flying up ahead of them, parting ways they made a move to perform a pincer attack on the emerald haired villain.
Hannah smiled, she’d sensed a telepath following her, and now it appeared that she was going to have company soon. “Better give them a proper welcome.” she thought as she stopped her progression.
A jet of flame came at her from her right, she put up a barrier of radiation and deflected it with ease, but while her attention was diverted Severe grabbed Jesseca with her telekinesis and brought the unconscious girl to her.
“Fire away!” Severe mentally told Arson, and watched as a torrent of fire erupted into Hannah, blasting the woman backward into the side of a building.
Arson jetted toward the building after Hannah, and veered out of the way of a radiation blast just before it could knock her from the sky. “Hafta do better than that psycho!” Arson taunted. She gasped as Hannah was suddenly in front of her, a hand at her throat.
“How’s this for better?” Hannah asked as she held her glowing fist in front of Arson’s face, readying a blast that would take the young girl’s head clean off.
Arson struggled to free herself from Hannah’s grasp. The teenage hero whimpered pitifully as she saw her imminent death at the hands of her foe. As her air supply cut off, her body lost it’s flaming shroud, and she was left powerless.
As Hannah started to fire her blast she was struck in the back with a sickening squish by Ataris’ battle axe, causing her to drop Arson. The young girl fell a short distance before she too was scooped up by Severe, and carried away from the battle.
“Maybe you step up from the minor’s and into the major league!” Ataris said as Hannah turned toward him, his axe in her hand after pulling it from her back. “I’ll be having that back now.” Ataris said as he leapt up to Hannah, meeting her in midair, one hand grabbing his axe, and the other wrapping around Hannah’s throat. “Let’s see how you like to be choked.” he said with a smile.
“Fool!” Hannah spat as she fired her radiation blast at Ataris’ chest. Hannah growled as her shot passed through the tall African American after his torso seemed to turn to mist.
“Looks like nobody told you about Ataris.” he said, and prying his axe from her hand swung it at her head, taking a good portion of the side of her skull off. Ataris leapt off her, and landed safely on the ground.
Hannah screamed in agony and flew upward with rocket speed. “You’ll all burn when D’argoth returns!” she shouted as she flew away.
“We’ll see about that.” Ataris thought as he started walking back to the base.
“I’m very proud of you all.” Knight said to his people as they sat in the infirmary while Jesseca and Arson were examined by the electronic medical system.
“I just wish I could’ve seen that bitch get what was coming to her, instead of letting her take me out.” Arson said.
Severe smiled at the girl and squeezed her hand. “I think you did just fine child.” she told the young girl with her mind, getting a smile in return.
“The fact still remains that we’ve been compromised, Hannah and the Circle of Thorns know where our base is, so we’re not safe here.” Knight said.
“I know where we can go.” Sue said weakly from her bed.
“Because we were only a team for a short time before Babbage attacked and the other girls were killed, nobody even knows this place exists.” Sue said with a pang of sadness as she stood in the middle of her old base with her new allies.
“Thank you Sue.” Severe said as she levitated Jesseca back toward the infirmary.
“All right team, we still have to get everyone we can together to combat this menace.” Knight said, breaking the moment. “Every able bodied person to a communicator, and get these folks together at the Terra Volta nuclear reactor tomorrow.” he said.
As the others went to their stations, Sue made her way into the infirmary where Severe was setting up some monitors to watch Jesseca’s vitals. “Is she going to be ok?” Sue asked, taking a seat on the edge of the bed next to Jesseca.
Severe smiled at her and put a hand on her knee, “She’s very tough, I’m sure she’ll be just fine.” she said.
Sue smiled at the woman and watched her leave the room. “Jess, if you can hear me, I need you to get better as soon as you can honey.” she said, snuggling up to the unconscious woman.
“Sue?” Knight said, gently nudging the sleeping woman.
Sue opened her eyes and sat up. “What time is it?” she asked, rubbing the sleep from her eyes.
“It’s about seven in the morning.” he said. “I need you to come with me for a little bit, I have to pick up some stuff for today.” he said.
Sue nodded and got off the bed, she leaned over and kissed Jesseca on her forehead before leaving with Knight.
“So where are we going?” she asked as they drove to their destination.
“I called Azuria with M.A.G.I. last night to see if she could tell me anything about D’argoth and the Circle of Thorns that might help us. She said that she had some weapons that would help us fight him if he manages to be freed.” he explained.
“But I thought he was inside of Hannah, possessing her.” Sue said, slightly confused.
Knight shook his head. “Apparently Hannah is possessed by a low level spirit used solely to bring her back to life.” he said, turning toward City Hall. “D’argoth is trapped in limbo right now, a realm between ours and the spirit world. The Circle of Thorns needs to perform a ritual to free him, which buys us some time to mount an attack.” he said.
“What kind of ritual?” Sue asked as they headed toward City Hall.
“She said the Circle needs to accumulate one thousand souls in order to break the chains that bind D’argoth. We figure that every person that Hannah has killed has gone toward increasing that number.” Knight said.
“So we have no idea how close they actually are to performing the ritual?” Sue asked.
Knight shook his head. “Hence the urgent urgency.” he said as they entered M.A.G.I. and made their way to Azuria’s desk.
“Knight, I’m glad you came so quickly.” Azuria said, rising from her seat. “After I finished talking to you last night I gathered everything I had that has some kind of tie to D’argoth, unfortunately I only have three items that will be able to help you.” she said.
Reaching into a nearby trunk and producing a necklace she tossed the item to Knight. “That’s the Pendant of Souls.” Azuria said. “It’s said to provide the wearer with protection from death and injury as long as it touches the skin.” she said.
Knight handed the necklace to Sue and caught the next item that Azuria tossed to him, a pair of gloves that shimmered under the fluorescent lights of the office. “The Hands of Destruction, when worn multiply strength tenfold, as well as granting mastery of holy energy blasts.” Azuria said. Knight handed those to Sue as well and met Azuria by the trunk.
“The Sword of Banishment, unbreakable and able to cut through any element known to man, including the tough hides of demon overlords.” Azuria said with a smile.
“Thanks Azuria, hopefully this’ll be enough.” Knight said, kissing the woman on her cheek before heading to the door with Sue following behind, smiling at the pretty African American mystic.
“I pray that it is.” Azuria said quietly to herself as the heroes left her office.
“So, three enchanted items for an army of heroes?” Sue asked as they headed back to the car.
“Nope.” Knight said. “Three enchanted items for an army of one. You.” He said handing her the sword and getting into the car.
“Me? Why me?” she asked, getting into the car after setting the items in the backseat.
“Azuria said that these items had to be used by the most effective person that we had. I haven’t met anyone yet that’s as powerful as you, next to Hannah. I figure that with this stuff she’ll be no match for you, and after her comes D’argoth, and you know what they say about the bigger they are.” he said with a smile.
Sue smiled back nervously, she’d suddenly been thrust into the role of savior of the city, and it terrified her to no end.
End Part I