Iron Rev 8: It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Prince
By Kris Overstreet
Final rating: 4.50
It was a simple job the group of demons got.
Czgrowsky's Hardware and Mercantile, in the sleepy, relaxed, and above all
tiny Texas town of Wurtemburg(*), is a small Tether
to Dark Humor. About eighty years ago, an accident involving the unwise use
of a third-story hayloft for warehouse space inspired the now classic Falling
Anvil gag. (What? You thought someone just made that up?)
About two years ago, there was a brush fire a couple miles north. Brush
fires aren't uncommon in the Hill Country, but this one got national media
attention when, after three days of smoldering, after being 90% contained,
it flared up into a tremendous wave of heat, jumped over a ridge, and
funneled down a valley on its own wind, taking out a hundred homes in a
brand new housing project- killing dozens of people who hadn't had enough
time to run before the firestorm struck.
Rusty Canyon is now a Tether of Belial, and the new Tether's Seneschal,
Achur, is keen to take Wurtemburg under his diabolic wing. (Or wings, or
other things; the Shedite isn't picky.) Lenny Czgrowsky, better known in
Hell as Slarizark, Impudite Seneschal, regards the little town full of
religious hypocrites, gossipy blue-noses, and back-door drunkards as his
hobby farm... and won't let any damn Fire freak push him off it.
In short, the town just ain't big enough for the two of 'em.
"Lenny" has hired the demons- or, if it's an all-Kobalite group,
requisitioned them from Shal-Mari- to protect the hardware store and, if
possible, take out the trailer parked on the old Rusty Canyon development
where Achur keeps his hosts. (The trailer's squatting there- no legal
right- so legal action is a possibility...)
A special bonus- a rare artifact- is available to the demon who brings in
Binky and Waldo, the two playful puppies whose antics caused the Rusty
Canyon Fire when they knocked over a rancher's barbecue grill. Of course,
since the dogs play a vital role in the human belief where the fire is
concerned- see also Mrs. O'Leary's cow- the dogs are at least as well
defended as the Fire Tether itself.
Still, all in all, it looks pretty straightforward. Ambitious demons can
go for Binky and Waldo. Scrappy demons can try to take out the Fire
Tether. Cautious demons can just stick around and defend the store- rest
assured trouble will find them anyway. Oh, and whatever they do, it has to
be funny. Very, very funny. Simple, right?
The only worrying thing is, it was Asmodeus himself who gave the order
about it having to be funny... or else...
It was a simple job the group of angels got.
Of course, none of the angels (unless they're Flowers) believe it- but
apparently Kobal, once the Angel of Laughter, wants to Redeem. He's even
persuaded Novalis that he's truly repentant, and she in turn has persuaded
a few of her fellow Archangels to at least give the Impudite a chance.
There's just one catch. Redemption is, of course, a very dangerous thing-
highly unpleasant, painful, and often fatal. Kobal doesn't want to commit
to the attempt quite yet... because he has a bit of unfinished business.
Seems he's left some pretty decent (for demons) folks in a tight spot, and
he feels really guilty about it. He can't bail them out without arousing
suspicion... so perhaps the angels could?
The conditions are simple: first, the demons in question must be protected
at all costs. They must then be persuaded to come with the angels, of
their own free will, without coercion or harm coming to them. When Kobal
sees, with his own eyes, that his little lost lambs are safe and sound,
he'll take the cure... he says.
And where are these demons? A flyspeck town called Wurtemberg, Texas...
Yes, that's right. A group of demons, trying to satisfy both Kobal and
Asmodeus at once. a group of angels, sent to protect, round up and bring
back the group of demons. mayhem ensues.
Is Kobal serious about Redemption? He's serious enough to fool Novalis, at
least- although Novalis is always eager to see the potential good in
anyone. It is just remotely possible that he really wants to Redeem- or
that, even if he wasn't serious about it, that he might be caught in his
own trick and, by his own rules, be forced to submit to Redemption or spoil
his joke. Asmodeus, of course, believes it's a massive joke on Heaven,
designed to undermine Novalis' influence on the Seraphim Council. If he
ever actually thinks Kobal might go through with it, it will be open season
on Kobal. and every single demon of Dark Humor, or associated with them.
To make certain, Asmodeus has stationed a rather powerful observer in
Wurtemberg- "John Hall," a Balseraph in the role of an FBI agent just
arrived in Wurtemberg for a two-week camping vacation. His job: make sure
the demons follow orders, judge the Dark Humor in their actions. oh, and
prevent any consorting with angels.
Dominic- who knows Kobal is lying about something- has sent out his own man
to monitor things. The Texas Ranger whose RV pulled in right behind the
FBI man- "Ranger Lewis Freeman"- is an Elohite of Judgement. His orders:
make sure the angels follow orders, protect any humans caught in the
crossfire. oh, and prevent any consorting with demons.
The angels know about Dominic's observer; the demons know about Asmodeus'
observer. (If they are smart, they won't assume there's only one of each.)
The angels, however, have no knowledge about the Tether turf war in
Wurtemberg- only that a few undeserving demons are defending a Tether and
need extraction. They do know, however, every bit of information needed to
identify the demons in any Vessels, Roles and even Celestial forms.
The demons, of course, don't know about Kobal's repentance. Not a word.
After the two groups make contact- and the likely circumstances of that
contact should allow the two groups to separate again. Agent Hall will
immediately find the demon group and order them to avoid the angels if
possible, string them along if they have to talk. but above all, make the
angels the butt of the joke. Ranger Freeman will find the angelic group
and remind them that it is vitally important that the demon group be
brought to Kobal absolutely within the conditions set. and that Kobal not
be given any excuse, any loophole, any way whatever to back out without
showing his dishonesty. Further, the angels must not be drawn into any
internal affairs of Hell- they're here to protect the demons and get them
out, in that order, and NOTHING ELSE.
And, through all this, there are the demons of Fire and their own hired
goons, who know nothing of any of this- they just want to burn a certain
hardware store to the ground, and keep their pyromaniac puppy dogs safe.
There are plenty of gun-toting rednecks who aren't above messing with
strangers in town a bit- and some of them have badges. There are nosey old
women who believe that everyone else's business is their business, who
might make good information sources but more likely will be a constant
threat of discovery to all concerned. The air is filled with Superior
politics, Hell-spawned turf wars, interfering mortals. it's enough to drive
a Celestial mad, mad, mad, mad...
* Mythical, but for game purposes about an hour west-northwest of San
Antonio, over two hours west of Austin.
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