King of Storms: Part 10

Above us, the cloud became darker, extending across the dune toward Grand Lake.

“Relax,” Lee said. “We both know that if I were coming to kill you, I’d have already tried by now.”

“Why are you here?”

“I’m training them.” He waved vaguely in our direction.

“In what?”

“Fighting. What else?”

“Given your history, I made no assumptions.”

“Think I might be scamming someone? No. I made a deal with the original Rocket. I’m keeping my end of it.”

“Does this agreement include protection?”

“No, but there’s a limit to how much hurt I’ll allow in training.”

“So in effect, yes.”

Lee shrugged. “You could look at it that way.”

For a little while, neither of them said anything.

Then the King of Storms said, “But he stole my name!” His voice had the same not quite human tone, evoking the sound of thunder and lightning as much as it did human breath, but I couldn’t help but think, “What is he? Twelve?”

That’s about right, Daniel thought back at me. There are at least three major personalities going on under that hood. I’m thinking there might be more than a hundred, but, I can’t be sure. They’re muted.

I looked over at him. Daniel didn’t blink.

No joke.

Ahead of us, Vaughn said, “I did not steal your name. We went through this already in email. You’re called King of Storms. I’m called Storm King. They’re not the same name.”

“It’s the same words. I’ve been on TV and in the newspapers and… You knew and you just took it.”

Talking through the first speaker, another voice from within the hood said, “What I mean to say is that your use of that moniker is potentially confusing, and, should you behave like your ancestor, it will bring me shame as well.”

Simultaneously with the other two voices, a third voice, (possibly a woman’s) said, “We can’t argue like this in public.”

She said a few other things too, but too quietly for me to catch them.

Vaughn said, “Behave as my ancestor? You are totally full of shit. I haven’t done anything he’s done. If I wanted to behave like my grandfather, I’d have sent a dozen, drug addicted goons to Pittsburgh to waste you. You know what I did? I checked the national names list and I listed myself with the Michigan Heroes Alliance. And you know what? You didn’t list yourself at all. In fact, after you sent me the email, I talked to the Pennsylvania Heroes Alliance and they say you won’t even talk to them. Hell, didn’t you take down a couple heroes while you were fighting Red Rage? They were on your side. Isn’t that shame enough? I don’t think you need me for that.”

The KIng of Storms seemed too floored to speak for a moment.

Then a cacophony of voices came from within the hood. Some shouted. Others whispered or wailed, but on the whole, the main emotion I heard had to be anger.

In the initial blast of noise, the only statement I could clearly make out was, “You expect me to talk to those unnatural things?”

A dark cloud seemed to be forming around him as the voices continued.

“But doesn’t he have a point?” asked one.

Another answered in a language I didn’t recognize, setting off babbling in half a dozen other languages. One of them might have been Spanish.

Next to me, Daniel held his jaw stiffly shut, concentrating on something.

Haley said, “I think we should be doing something.”

Cassie and Jaclyn were whispering together while electricity moved from finger to finger of Vaughn’s right hand. I wondered if he even knew it he was doing it.

To Haley, I said, “What?”

She didn’t answer. The King of Storms’ internal argument had grown louder.

The twelve year old voice (or something near to it) began shouting, “Hold it! It’s my body. I’m the only one of us who’s still alive. You’re all here to serve me.”

Silence.

He turned toward Vaughn and said, “I’ve pulled it together now. Sometimes they’re as not much help as they’re supposed to be. Back to what we were talking about, the King of Storms has been active in the Pittsburgh since the 1940’s and for at least one thousand years before that. We predate the Heroes Alliance groups and see no point in participating in an all volunteer bureaucracy with no real authority.”

I found it interesting to hear him talk like a normal kid at first, but sound considerably older than twelve by the time he’d ended.

“All volunteer or not, handling it through the Heroes Alliance would have saved everybody a lot of problems because I’m not changing.”

“Nor am I.”

18 thoughts on “King of Storms: Part 10”

  1. Hey Curve.

    Now that’s what I’m talking about! Vaughn completely served that self-righteous little prick (group of pricks).

    And I love how smug Lee is when addressing him/them.

    And now we are set for another showdown….because apparently Vaughn has run into someone more obstinate than he is!

  2. Whew, that’s an interesting twist. Weather Royalty number two is a split personality? Cool…

    Oh hey Jim a little note on editing: “I have already tried by now” this should read “would have already tried.” He hasn’t really done anything yet, but if he were going to he would have.

  3. @Jim: unpredictable is good- keeps us hanging!! Where’s the fun in reading a story where everything is obvious from the first page? 😉

  4. –Where’s the fun in reading a story where everything is obvious from the first page?–

    You should ask all the people who read Dan Brown’s books!!!!

  5. Eh… I’ve seen them, but never picked one up. Looked like that’s how it was going to be.

    This, however- if I saw it in the store, I would definitely at least glance at it! (and probably more besides. lol)

  6. I found it interesting to hear his voice begin sounding like a normal kid, but moving on to sound considerably older than twelve.

    Might want to revise tenses here. Otherwise, can’t wait to see what happens next. (oh and what DID the original Rocket do with Lee?)

  7. It seems pretty obvious to me, Eli, that the original Rocket PWNED Lee! Totally PWNED him! (Either that, or did him a HUUUUUUGE favour.)

    In either case, thank you, Jim, for giving us a world with a million layers of depth and history. Most writers start out with just their own localized world, and then start retconning backstory as they need. (Ummmm, Marvel Universe, anyone?) Clearly, you’ve got a boatload of history already set out in this world, with a bunch of thought put into all of it (such as the name registry, which is totally logical, given that the same thing already exists for actors and musical groups, where the name is the brand, and the brand is 90% of their value). I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again: nice work.

    Hg

  8. @Hydrargentium: I’m with you, if we listed everything Jim did right we’d run out of server space.

    Another thing that I like is that Jim finds drama in things that regular superhero groups don’t touch on, yet they’re so real.

    Two heroes going at it because of a name?? It sounds ridiculous but it happens ALL the time in real life.

    Jim might be a kind of modern era Alan Moore or Frank Miller. And that is as high compliment as I can think of right now.

  9. @Bill: “but it happens ALL the time in real life.”

    Ummm, really? Maybe we’re communicating through some kind of pandimensional vortex, because in the real life in my world, there aren’t any real superheroes…. 😛

    Hg

  10. Eli: More details about the original Rocket meeting Lee will show up in the course of the story (possibly not this arc) and possibly in an original Heroes League arc. Maybe both.

    Hg: What, you wouldn’t be interested in this great idea I had in which Nick is a clone, forcing me to rewrite everything for no good reason? Oh, nevermind then. (Note: for those of you unfamiliar with Spiderman’s Clone Saga, that was a joke.)

    World building is one of those things I do reflexively. Things that make no sense bother me.

    Bill: Thanks. I mostly just try to come up with stories that I’d find interesting.

  11. @Jim: yes!! I will be looking forward to that one, when you do get into the Rocket/Lee relationship. I am very curious about it myself, since Lee doesn’t really seem to be the guy who just randomly doles out favors, no matter who’s side their on. But I’m sad that I’ll have to wait til the next arc!!

  12. i have a question, dos lee per date Ancient Greece. Because if he is I’m thinking that he might be a aviator of mars or a war god from a different ancient culture. but if that’s not it he might be that hes not a god just some one that a god was bast after.

  13. Jimney: Some things about how Lee became involved in all this will show up soon. Possibly more quickly than I expect because sometimes characters’ natural inclinations push things along. Certain details probably won’t ever be naturally brought up by the characters, making a separate story the best choice.

    LordCainn: Lee predates Greece. There are some details related to that that I intended to get out by now, but haven’t naturally come up. Gotta work on that…

  14. See, my first impression of Lee was that he’s a dragon. I still think he is. Hopefully we’ll eventually see. Oh, and Marvel isn’t the only one guilty of retconning. The whole Crisis on Infinite Earths was a retcon of the entire DC universe. It was intentional and for the most part worked out well. I was kinda disappointed recently though to learn that they brought back Barry Allen. He was a great character but some sacrifices shouldn’t be trivialized.

  15. Given that the king of storms has been around for thousands of years I’d think it only fair that V change his name. Why is he being so stubborn? There’s Storm Lord, Prince of Storms and plenty of other names out there.

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