The Doom that Came to SLO-Town

Episode 26: Ever After

Late March

There was a foul wind in the air and there was a sense of imposing dread that came across the town of San Luis Obispo. Accidents were becoming more common, emergency vehicles were strained and police were on the lookout as the sudden uptick in strange behavior seemed to take hold of the city. A doom was certainly coming to SLO-Town.

War was coming with the Castalanta Family. If that was not bad enough, Raphael Castalanta seemed to be their prisoner, which compromised what Lilith Marid and Emma Lee Raines were willing to do.

Devon Lauer remained in Emma Lee’s house, looking for something to help fight the dragons. He knew that Emma Lee’s mother, the once great hunter, had to be able to have some kind of resource that would have harmed the creatures. Fortunately for him, he did find something – a small silver lance that he suspected would destroy the monsters. He took it, knowing that he would make great use of it in the war to come.

After the attacks on friends and family that has been perpetrated by Yasmine Castalanta, Lilith decided that measures had to be taken for those around here. With her mother still in the hospital, she called Giselle Babineaux to send her to the hospital under the guise of watching her mother but truthfully it was aimed at keeping Giselle in a safe place among many others, figuring that Yasmine would be hard pressed to reveal herself and cause so much damage in a public place. Simon Parker, taking a page from Lilith’s book, convinced Marisol Garza to do the same, telling her to get out of town as there was danger coming. At first she was hard to convince but when Simon stated it was ‘El Chupacabra,’ Marisol decided to flee town as fast as she could for La Jolla.

Molly Sterling, desperate to break the curse that Mahala Kindt had placed on her, began researching the ways in which to end Mahala’s spell, a powerful magic that turned Molly into a dangerous bomb that would slay the dragons in its radius. Whether or not Molly would have agreed to the plan was irrelevant – she did not approve of being a pawn. However, there was no answer to how to undo the spell. But that is when Mahala arrived at her window, floating in, carried by the powerful magic she possessed.

Mahala was angry, explaining to Molly there was no way to undo the curse and Mahala was resentful at Molly’s attempts to even try. Mahala reminded her that there was a war coming and that the forces in the city were destined to destroy one another and would kill Mahala if given a chance. The bomb was the only way to save herself from the wrath of the dragons even though she had been responsible for some of the bad blood that had developed between them. It was then that Molly, perhaps exhausted with the back and forth between them, not to mention the deception, decided to end things with Mahala. Mahala, like a woman or witch scorned, took great offense to Molly’s decision, promising she would regret such a foolish course of action . . .

But Molly had lost so much, become a corrupted soul, and felt there was a need to get out from underneath everything that was happening. The desire to run away and never again return was a feeling that pierced her heart. But even if she did cast all this aside, she would need to pull through and accomplish this one final task.

When the group got back together, decided the best course of action, they came up with the decision that before they could confront either Carnamagos or the Castalantas, they would have to do their best to evacuate the city. The plan that they came up with involved starting a gas leak at the high school and hoping that emergency responders would displace large numbers of people before whatever war occurred would claim to many lives.

Increasingly desperate and increasingly worried that their plans would be laid low, Lilith asked Molly if she would again go to the Ebony Statue and attempt to speak with her father, the demon, Aslam Khan. They would go to the art gallery, try to commune with the demon and then go to the school to execute phase one of their plan. But it was then that Molly admitted that she had broken up with Mahala, a decision the others said was the worst possible timing for it. But Molly stood by her decision, telling them she was at a low place in her life with the death of friends and family as well as the possession of Betty Swain by the wicked Sophie Wessel. She did not want to hear their complaints at the moment and said they could do all of this on their own. Upon arriving at the gallery, Molly cast the incantations to get herself into the statue and then worried about what she would say as her last experience with the demon did not go as well.

Upon entering the Ebony Statue, Molly traveled for what seemed like hours until she encountered what could only have been the demon, Aslam Khan. The demon showed itself first as a man, the image the teens had been familiar with from Emma Lee’s mother’s research. However, Molly was more powerful than the last time she had come and she could see through the illusion. Khan was a massive nest of tentacles and viscera that hid behind the fog as well as hide behind the guise of an attractive man. When Molly attempted to negotiate and find answers for Lilith, she discovered that Khan had long term plans of his own. Before Molly could even pose substantive questions, Khan explained that he had designs for Lilith and she was part of a greater prophecy. When he extended his arms to her and inserted a tentacle down her throat, he stated that she would be given a gift to hand over to Lilith. Before Molly could respond, she fell unconscious as the horror and shock was far too much for her.

Upon coming out of the statue, the rest saw Molly as incoherent and disoriented. When she explained her story to them, they thought the worst and Devon suggested that the demon could possibly have impregnated her but they did not have time to consider that. The group cleaned up Molly, went to the high school and set off a chemical reaction that would result in an explosion. On their way out, they blew up the statue of Carnamagos that watched over the school’s courtyard. Lilith then called Mahala to tell them they were ready for their confrontation with Carnamagos but Mahala did not answer. Clearly she was jilted over her experience with Molly. It looked as if they were going to have to do things on their own.

Arriving at the House of Dust, the group first saw Minerva Mink outside. The group wasted no time in attacking the servant of Carnamagos but upon Devon striking her upside the head, she fell over, revealing the illusion that had been cast upon her. It was not Minerva, but Georgia Campbell of Sister Sadness. Distraught, Molly went to her side but it was too late – she was dead; another victim of this senseless war the group had found themselves in.

Determined and angry, the group went inside, led by Emma Lee’s heroism and passion, where they went to the very room where Carnamagos could normally be found. It was there that they attempted to summon his presence and then began to burn the sacred and evil texts associated with him. It was then that they each felt a silver of the dying god attempt to get inside of them, hiding and waiting for another time. But now the group knew he was defeated but not destroyed. At this point they would have to engage Mahala as her magic was the only option they had available. They hoped, however, that she would be able to cast the demon out of them and do something to stop Carnamagos forever. But they were unsure how she was to react with regards to Molly, warning her that she may have to take Mahala back if it came down to it.

Broken and exhausted, the team finally made it back to the suburbs, fighting their way through the numerous emergency vehicles that were on the road. A quick call to Giselle, confirmed to Lilith that things were still as fine as they could be under the circumstances at the hospital.

Arriving at Mahala’s house, she and her puppets seemed very defensive, as if they thought there was going to be a physical confrontation. However, when there was none, words did become heated over the role Mahala was supposed to play and the fact that she seemed to back out of the deal over what Lilith called ‘petty reasons.’ Then, the information came out that Carnamagos may have tried to escape but that he splintered himself and seemed to make his way into the teens. They needed to know if Mahala could expel him. She agreed but took a thunderous tone when she insisted that they abide by her rules and follow her plan to specifications, including destroying the Castalanta family. Lilith and Emma Lee again tried to see some diplomatic solution but that made Mahala even angrier. However, for now, they wanted the Carnamagos expelled. Mahala managed to cast a spell – which she stated would be dangerous – and took the pieces of the god and placed him inside of a vessel that she had prepared. Now, they insisted, Mahala was to use her magic to summon Raphael from his prison and bring him unharmed to Mahala’s house.

As Mahala went to hr basement to make the preparations for the summoning spell, Sage Castle and Major Kindt came to Emma Lee with a request – they needed to be killed. They could no longer live as puppets under the witch Mahala’s control for the rest of eternity. They needed to be released from the bondage she had placed on them. They asked Emma Lee if, when this entire affair had reached the conclusion if she would return and do what needs to be done. Emma Lee certainly agreed.

When Mahala used her magic to draw Raphael from the confines of the Castalanta dungeon, he was weak but unharmed. When he and Lilith had some words, she revealed that they were working with Mahala who was the notorious Consag, which infuriated Raphael who reiterated this was an age old family enemy. By working with her, Lilith and her friends were doing what was everything his family fought against. However, when she told him that his family was hell-bent on killing them, he told Lilith she had his consent to do what needed to be done to save themselves as despite working with the Consag, they were the innocents in all of this. Mahala agreed to take Raphael to the hospital and wait for them all there. Of course, they were unsure if this was a tactical plan on her part or a subtle threat she had levied against them.

The trip to the Castalanta house was filled with dread. After seeking an audience with Ferdinand Castalanta, the teens tried to negotiate but it was clear that he and his entire family were obsessed with seeking out and finding Mahala, the Consag. They would take nothing less and would certainly not even consider an alternate food source other than the town without her brought as a sign of good faith. However, this was not something that Lilith and Emma Lee could agree to. So when it seemed as if Ferdinand was about to have his family pounce, Molly came in and unleashed the power that was waiting inside of her, laying waste to all the dragons that were present, each of them dying in a horrific and grotesque manner for their hubris and unwillingness to negotiate. And with that, the lives of many ancient beings were suddenly snuffed out and, as it seemed, the danger was over as both the Castalanta family and Carnamagos were dealt with in ways that left no doubt that the teens would never see them again.

Meeting up at the hospital, Emma Lee and Lilith relieved Giselle of her vigil and stayed with Sabrina Marid to ensure she was fine. Mahala and Raphael came in, curious as to how things went, with Raphael having mixed emotions over the entire incident. Just as Emma Lee assured Mahala things were over, the looming shadow of something flying appeared at the window and the entire room exploded with a fiery bolt. It was Yasmine Castalanta in her dragon form!

The fight was vicious but brief. Yasmine was certainly a powerful force but the friends had grown powerful together. Before any real damage could occur, Simon appeared and showed the power of the holy he had been saving, smiting the powerful dragon. What was about to be a slaughter of everyone present, turned into a victory for the teens as they were able to drive Yasmine off. But each of them would certainly be watching over their shoulders as there would no doubt be a reckoning at some point . . .

Finale

The weeks passed and normalcy slowly began to return to San Luid Obispo. Certainly, there were investigations into the numerous kinds, missing and dead, but wounds healed, and eventually the nastiness that came before became a distant memory. Perhaps it was the arcane forces of the area that acted as a shroud for the mysteries and supernatural, perhaps people did not care like they used to.

Devon had a heart to heart with his father, desperately wanting him to get more involved in protecting the town, but Mr. Lauer revealed that he had an ally, an unlikely and untrustworthy ally in the Consag, the mysterious witch in the area. Devon knew that this was potentially bad but also knew he had some leverage over her.

It may have been the first time in months that the friends were able to get together at a high school party. Few of them had spoken until then and this was the first time they were able to really talk. They discussed Quintin Castle and how he and his family moved back to Wolf Valley after the death, reappearance and subsequent death of Sage. They all talked about how nothing strange had been happening and no sightings of Yasmine. However, as Molly pointed out, there was still the matter of Betty being possessed by Sophie. Molly realized she had to talk to Mahala in order to try and get out from underneath the ugly situation that had transpired.

But, as it turned out, Molly was just a little too late, as it turned out.

A few days subsequent to the party where the teens reminisced and congratulated themselves of a job well done, tragedy struck. When Simon Parker went to meet Marisol at the gym after her workout, he came across a grizzly site. Betty Swain, still possessed by Sophie Wessel, was stabbing her through the heart as one last insult to those that had tried to stop her. Molly was too late in contacting Mahala to do something about the insane cult leader. Simon cradled the dying Marisol in his arms and the two of them disappeared, never to be seen again, one last mystery that would go unsolved.

Molly Sterling, wracked by guilt over what she thought had happened, fueled by Sophie’s taunts, went to Mahala and had her cast a spell that could expel Sophie from Betty. The spell worked and wherever Sophie went was unknown but Molly had her friend back. But it was at that point that Molly vowed to never use her magic again and would try to change her life by joining the convent. She contacted the Lourdes Convent in San Rafael (of all places) and transferred away to a private Catholic school to live out her days until graduation.

As a result, Emma Lee Raines knew she was alone in her fight as her allies were disappearing. A deep conversation with Mahala indicated Mahala’s doubts that Molly would stay with her and knew of her plans to go to the convent. Mahala indicated she would likely leave San Luis Obispo, never again to trouble the locals and likely take her brothers too Las Vegas where they would set up a casino and brothel and live out their days at the penthouse of Four Seasons. But she had a confession she had to reveal. She was the one, in a fit of anger, who had cast an illusion on Georgia to make her look like Minerva. She was angry at Molly and angry at everyone. It was that kind of behavior Emma Lee insisted that Mahala stop. This was Mahala’s one pass from Emma Lee and that the sooner she left San Luis Obispo the better. If Emma Lee was going to be a savior and protector, honoring not only the memory of her mother but also that of Simon who had helped train her, it was this kind of thing that would not be tolerated.

Devon Lauer knew he had talent but needed that extra special push to get him over the top. Lilith gave him the gifts to be noticed, adding to his already potent abilities in music. It would not be long before he would be an indie superstar, joining the ranks of the best bassists in the country.

Lilith Marid, content to stay her days with Raphael and planning out a life of luxury needed some alone time. The object she had gotten from Molly before she left town that Aslam Khan had given her was nothing more than a small pearl. Lilith spent more time in the library of her mother’s new house where she had transferred the Ebony Statue and knew her father was waiting, perhaps anxious for the day that she could uncover what the pearl did and communicate with her father.

And free him . . .

Comments

Nicely done. My mind went straight from the last line to envisioning the credits rolling to SLO-Town (“Slow Ride,” by Foghat https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcCNcgoyG_0).

Soundtrack by Devon Lauer.

No actual teenagers were harmed in the making of this series.

Episode 26: Ever After
Hasturmind Hasturmind

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