|Books, Baggage, and Brimstone|
|What: Daytripper and Norm are all that stand between the luggage carousel and the odd love child of Jabba the Hutt and Salacious Crumb.|
Airports tend to be busy on Saturdays. There are people coming in, and going out, and flying away to all sorts of places. Norman Meyer happens to be one of the people waiting for someone coming in. He's managed to not get arrested yet in his giant jacket that conceals the metallic bands around his arms. He's taken a seat somewhere in the lobby, settled to hunch over and stare at a clock from time to time
From the opposite end of the airport is where things actually start happening. The shouting starts from the direction of the baggage claim, and slowly works its way out from there. Pretty soon people are skittering down the halls and security is in an uproar. Bright white light pours out from the room, spilling down the hall and flooding over everything before dimming again. Nobody wants to stick around to find out what it was.
Home to New York, as much as any city in the world is home to the blonde Gypsy. Amanda Sefton, wearing the blue and white uniform of a flight attendant, is actually on her way toward baggage claim, from the flight crew customs checkpoint, to pick up her own bag. She's startled by the white light that pours from the room, and then there's the flood of people running -- most of them running out onto the public concourse instead of the 'Authorized Personnel Only' areas in which she finds herself.
Still, security is quick on their feet. "Out of the way! Out of the way!" A pair of security guards pelt up the corridor from behind her. Their guns are drawn and she's plastering herself against the wall in short order to let them pass.
"What's going on?" she calls after them, even as the first slams into the crash bar across the door that leads into the baggage claim.
"Just stay back!" the last of the pair shouts back to her, following his partner through the door, moving into a defensive crouch.
Amanda's brow arches. She gives his order a full half-a-heart-beat's consideration. "Not bloody likely." An inevitable response, really, and she's off to look around the door to see just what the situation actually is.
The situation is-well. It's pretty weird, really. The baggage claim has been deserted in short order, only one or two people crouched or cowering under convenient hiding places. The luggage is just scattered everywhere, clothing, toys, shattered souvenirs, it's a mess. On one of the halted conveyor belts is the source of the panic: A suitcase.
This particular suitcase is open, and being sat on by a four foot tall, impossible fat red creature. It looks humanoid in nature, if completely grotesque in its rotundness. The sheer sight of it causes the security officers to freeze in place, and after a moment of regarding them the creature snaps it's fingers once. They're immediately tackled to the ground by what appear to be a dozen large books with wings, and rather sharp looking teeth.
It's from the opposite end of the hall that Norm enters the scene. The man pauses, staring blankly at what lies before him. "Really?" He sounds more incredulous than anything else. "Really?"
Amanda's sentiments exactly. "Seriously?" is her variation on that theme. "Books?" Stepping back behind the door, she mutters a soft spell, and light coalesces around her. The costume isn't strictly necessary -- particularly since it doesn't disguise her features any -- but, somehow, arcane creatures always take her more seriously when she looks at least a little mystical.
Stepping back around the door, her hands rise and flick a sharp gesture before her. Magical force shoots from her fingertips, blowing the books off the men like a pair of battering rams. "Better idea," she tells the two security guards, now, moving between them and the books. "You stay back, I'll handle this."
She mutters another soft spell, hands flicking in further gestures. Metal tiles peel from the floor and begin spinning about as she starts weaving a cage to contain the blood-thirsty pages.
For the moment, neither the surprised man at the far end nor the creature on the suitcase takes her attention -- not because they don't deserve it, but because the books are a more immediate concern.
The books are doing their very best to consume human flesh, but it's just not working out so much for them. Tiles are not kind to their teeth, and once they're blown around and all clustered together in a cage they flop to the ground once their effort is expended. The ones Amanda is concentrating on, at least.
Norm is flailing at a few that come in his general direction, those tomes apparently disgusted with his mundanity. His arms are about as edible as the tiles, so it's more annoying than anything else. "Hey. Hey! Don't do that. Getoff. Ow!"
The rotund creature on the suitcase steeples its hands together as it observes all of this, whispering, "Ah, a magician! How exciting, yesyeyes. You should be careful of the secret library, our master will be displeased. I suppose I should free them." He doesn't do the best job at freeing. Incinerating maybe. With a big puff of breath it spits a huge fireball in Amanda's general direction.
The tile cage does its job and Amanda turns around to get her bearings, just in time to see the enormous fireball coming her way. An expletive runs through her thoughts, but doesn't cross her lips. She's too busy muttering another quick spell, this one creating a shield that rises like a portion of dome wall before her, giving the fire something to bash itself against. She turns her face from the light and the heat, her arms up protectively in front of her as the shield does its job.
To the security guards, she says, "I've got its attention. You get the rest of the people out."
Fire dissipating, some few shreds no doubt catching on one or two pieces of more flammable luggage sets, Daytripper moves forward now, locking her attention on the creature, one fist clenched with the power of another magic bolt primed to fly. "Hey! Sparky!" she calls out to the odd love child of Jabba the Hutt and Salacious Crumb. "I'm afraid this is a no smoking area. I'm really going have to ask that you put that out."
The security personnel are all to happy to agree. They yell a few things, shouting and grabbing any stragglers before beginning to hustle them away. Conveniently, a crackling orange force field pops up behind them, covering their retreat. More books bounce off it, and once the civilians are far enough away Norm uses the field to herd and smoosh the books again a wall.
The other books that remain are quickly set ablaze by the breath of the fat creature. "Oh no, the secret library. What a shame." It trills, with nothing in the way of remorse on it's bulbous face. It turns to focus on Amanda now, hesitating for a second. "No need to be hasty. We could work out a deal! Yesyeyes. You see, I'm stuck. If you could make me unstuck, I'm sure I don't have to burn this place down. Yes? Yesyesyes?"
Secret library... Amanda frowns faintly. Whose secret library? The creature's taking a lot of delight in destroying it.
"Stuck how?" she asks, sparing a glance over her shoulder at the force shield that deals with the rest of the books and helps to protect the civilians. Who's the guy? She'll make a note to thank him later. For now...
There's that creature. "Who are you, Imp?"
"They call me Balgran the Fat. I've been bound to protect this suitcase by my master. Yesyeyes. To protect it, of course, I'll have to kill everyone in this building. Because they are too close to it, you see. Unless you break the spell on it. Opening it up-someone did that by mistake-won't do all on it's own. Can you do that? I promise I won't try and eat very many-any people. None at all. Yesyeyes."
Meanwhile, Norm has finished cleaning up the books. Mostly by crushing them into bits. He's very crackly and loud about it, mumbling something about overdue fees. Then he goes back to watching the exchange. He's not much of a magic person, but he might help if it doesn't go too well.
Balgran. Amanda starts running through a catalogue of mystical creatures in her head, searching for anything that might give her a better clue to who the creature is and what his weaknesses may be. It's a fire caster. That's something. There's likely an aversion to water there. But, no guarantee.
Still, she's gotten enough out of him to gather the suitcase belongs to a mage. Which makes her wonder, "And just who bound you? What's his name?" A beat. "Her name?" Mustn't be sexist, after all, and give the creature an 'out'. She's not doing anything until she knows just what she's dealing with.
Balgran doesn't sound like anyone particularly important. It might be a demon of some kind, but if it is it isn't a very powerful one. "My owner calls himself Mr. Magician." Which is not a very familiar name either. Also not very original. "I think he took the wrong flight. It serves him right, yesyesyes. So! Will you let me out?" The other option being killing it, or, possibly, stuffing it back in the suitcase. It's a mystery how that thing even held him, let alone all those books.
Of course, he took the wrong flight. And what kind of name is 'Mr. Magician'? Should Amanda ever find him, he and she are going to have words. As for how the suitcase held all that, well that's not such a surprise to her. 'Bag of holding' spells aren't so complicated once you figure out how to link the dimensional walls to the mouth of your container.
"See, here's the thing," she says, moving closer to him now and straightening. "I can't let you go." In the first place, it's bad form to release someone else's bindings. In the second, it's damned hard. "Especially if there's even a chance you might start eating people. Bad form, that, you know."
Stuffing it back in the suitcase might be the better choice... but she may be able to banish it, if it comes to that. That would be the best choice.
"Ah, well, that is unfortunate. I suppose I will have to consider you a threat to my master's possessions. Yesyesyes." And, once he's done yessing, the creature attacks. It's too fat to actually go anywhere, so it merely begins spitting globs of fire again. It wiggles around as it does so, rolling back and forth, flames leaping up across the space of the baggage claim.
This is the part where Norm can help. Another wall of energy pops up, this time in a rough circle around the creature. It ensures that the flames can't get too far, but leaves a clear path for Amanda to do...whatever she's going to do. Norm clearly isn't sure what that is, because he asks, "Uh, should I hit it? Is that a thing I should do now? I don't really know what's going on."
Amanda makes to dodge, even as the other man's shield comes up. "Nice timing," she comments with a smile. "Keep it contained. Hit it if you can do so without releasing it or getting toasted, while I set up a banishing spell." It'll take a few moments. Banishing is no simple matter, particularly when it's someone else's summons.
She begins chanting, magical energy flowing from out of her hands to create a circle around the baggage claim. Her bosses may not like this, but it's not like they have much choice. They'll be paying for a lot of lost luggage, by the time this is all done.
"Oh my god, how did you get so far? It's grotesque. Aren't you magic? Can't you just magic yourself thin?" Norm is rattling this off as he works on containing the imp for Amanda. He seems to be doing it more out of nervousness than a heroic need to banter. Or, he's just genuinely curious. It's hard to tell.
As for Balgran, he's doing his best to break free. Which involves a lot of wiggling. There's more fire too, a constant stream that's burrowing its way through the crackling field around it. Hopefully Daytripper can take care of her thing before it gets through.
Yeah. Daytripper's hoping the same thing.
Her magic flows over the flow. Arcane symbols appear on tile, glowing with purple energy. Her chanting is soft and clear. The imp no doubt realizes, by now, that he's being sent home. Maybe it's not as good as being allowed to go free to eat people, but at the very least, it'll unbind him from the suitcase.
On the other hand, it'll hurt when it does, too.
Not Amanda's concern. Her concern is simply getting the thing gone. Just as it looks like his power is going to break the shield, the circle snaps shut. Amanda releases a single word, a single gesture, and a black hole opens up beneath both suitcase and demon. A fiery light shines upward from within the hole as suitcase and imp hover for just a moment like Wyle E. Coyote over a long drop. Then, they both fall.
The hell maw snaps closed with a crackle and a hiss, leaving a not-so-subtle stench of rotten eggs in its wake. Amanda grimaces and straightens. "I hate brimstone..." Even if her foster brother does often leaves a trail of it in his wake.
"Oh nooo-" Balgran trails off, the fat demon and suitcase popping out of existence, falling into the pit before everything goes quiet. There's a book or two left, but most of them have decided to lay low for now.
The shield pops away once the work is done. Norm blinks at the results of Amanda's work, batting his eyes several times before he lowers his metal arms back to his sides. "That was...a thing. That happened. OSHA did not prepare me for this."
Amanda gives the man a sympathetic smile. "Yeah, most workplace safety drills are woefully light on the what-to-do-when-weird-stuff-happens part. But you did well. I'm very glad you were here." No word of a lie that. The arcane symbols around the baggage claim fade out with a sweep of her hand. She turns to survey the damage. "Oh, yeah. This is going to be fun to try and explain to management..."
She cants her head, looking at him. "I'm called Daytripper. And you are...?"
"Well, I have magic friends." Which sounds awkward. "So, uh, I've seen this happen once or twice. I know some aliens too. So, at least there's that." A nod from the man, and then he adds, "Oh. Right. I'm...Norm." Which he also sounds vaguely embarrassed about, having no neat superhero name to speak of. He does comment of hers, though, "Daytripper isn't like a drug thing, is it? Magic drugs? If those exist. I mean, you did a really good job of this, even if they do. Just curious. I'm new at this."
Amanda blinks, now. A smile cracks her face and she laughs. "No. Daytripper isn't a drug," though there are some that have found her addicting in the past. "It just sounds more dramatic than giving true name, don't you think?" Norm. The man with the metal arms and shielding ability is called Norm. There's something... rather priceless about that. But, she doesn't give in to it. "I'm glad you were here, Norm. You've got a handy set of abilities there."
She considers all he says he's seen and gives a slow nod. "At least you weren't caught completely flat-footed." She glances to where the security guards evacuated the rest of the civilians. "Unlike everyone else." She shakes her head now and rakes a gloved hand through long blonde hair. "This isn't really the sort of thing the authorities handle well." Especially in the aftermath. "I suppose I should let someone know the coast is clear." She smiles again. "Do you want to stick around to experience the fall out, or make a quick exit stage left?"
"Oh. Cool." The man offers a genuine smile with that. Magic drugs is the last thing Norm really wants to think about. Things are weird enough without witches getting high. "Yeah, I guess," He offers about naming conventions. "I mean, I'm not a superhero or anything. I couldn't get a costume on, so everyone'd know who I was anyway." As for the bit about his skills, he makes a thin smile. "Yeah, it comes in handy sometimes."
When Norm turns to survey the damages done he hesitates for a second, taking stock of the mess of luggage and burnt tile. "I'm not really a...cop person. It's hard to explain the arms." He raises one of them to indicate. With his coat all askew from the excitement it's pretty easy to see the prongs that make up his 'hands' and the metal trailing further up. "So. I'll leave that to you, if you want to do that."
Amanda looks at his arms, the pincers and such. She gives a smile full of understanding and nods. "I'm fairly certain they've got both of us on camera, but I might be able to do something about that." There's an advantage to magic -- and the ability to hypnotize as she can. Clean up, while never easy, isn't quite so impossible. "Leave it to me, Norm." She glances to the exit. "Though, if you're going to go, I suggest you take the side entrance. That door will lead to a maintenance corridor. First left will take you back out to the concourse. You'll avoid the worst of the crowd, I expect." She knows her airports. "I'll speak with security. Don't worry about it."
"That's probably a good idea," The construction worker agrees. He begins to shuffle in the direction that Daytripper indicated, pausing half-way to turn back to the woman with a quick smile. "Uh, thank you again. It was lovely meeting you, I guess I'll, like, owe you one. Or something. Goodbye!" Once he's doing being polite, off he goes. Police and the rest of security will arrive later to clean up and ask questions. Somewhere in L.A. a magician of minor talent is probably wondering where his suitcase went.