The time has come faithful followers, readers and subscribers! We near the release of my debut novel, Legend of the Orange Scepter! LotOS is NOW AVAILABLE for purchase on Amazon and CreateSpace for the low price of $9.99 for the print version, and $6.99 for a Kindle version (of course the Kindle version is only on Amazon). It will also be channeled into bookstores (maybe even the big ones!) in the next two months. It is only thanks to your donations and support that this day has come! Above is the cover art (done by the AMAZING Jermaine Dickerson) that features the five main characters of the novel, Mo and Don (top, l-r), and Rod, De and M (bottom, l-r), and below we will take a second look into the world of the Elementals and start to understand why it won't be so easy for these super powered teens to save their world.
The next morning De woke up to the sound of someone pounding on the manor’s front door. Ever since he joined the Elementals, he had been living with the Racksons in one of their spare rooms. He was just wondering what sort of cool combination attacks he and his fellow Elementals could pull off when M walked into his room.
“This place is a mess,” M commented, looking around the room. De didn’t have many things, but everything he did have was sprawled around the room the Racksons were letting him live in.
“It’s not a mess; it’s exactly like I want it,” De replied. He reached for his favorite muscle shirt, put it on, and hopped out of his bed.
“Do you have anything with sleeves on it?” M asked. In just the two weeks he had known De, he had already grown tired of seeing his budding biceps all the time.
“Sorry kid, we can’t all be rocking the slim fit look,” De laughed, poking M’s scrawny chest.
“Shut up! I don’t need to be huge anyway, I just need my powers,” M pushed De’s hand off of him and pouted for a moment. “You just hurry up and come down to the bunker,” he said and walked out of the room. De continued to laugh as he put on a pair of pants for today’s training.
By the time De got dressed and grabbed some food from the kitchen, Rod, Mo and Don had all arrived at the manor and were already downstairs in the bunker. De walked in, still chewing his breakfast as Don was speaking to the others.
Don reached into the large bag he brought with him and began pulling out clothes. “I call it Skin Armor,” he said to De. “I was telling the others that after I realized that the dummy you guys fought yesterday was made of Crystanium, I had finally found the material I needed to make you guys some armor! I mean, I saw how much you got hurt from M’s electricity,” M made no effort to hide how proud he was of himself for being the inspiration behind this new wardrobe. “…and I know A.G. would be even stronger, so I figured if you had Crystanium clothes that wouldn’t have happened,” Don explained. He watched De feel the jeans he handed to him and continued.
“It’s pretty resistant to regular wear and tear. It should be fire proof, water resistant, and pretty much able to withstand anything else you guys can throw at them. I tried to make them as close to what you guys would normally wear, so you can wear them whenever you want,” Don finished.
De lifted the red sleeveless shirt that was his. It even bore a large flame on the front. “Cool!” he said, hurriedly taking off his own shirt to put on Don’s Skin Armor. The others were a tad bit more respectful and waited until Rose had turned around before they put on their clothing.
“I like them.” Rod said, pulling his jeans down so that they were off his waist. His black t-shirt was just big enough to make sure that most of his body was covered. “We only get one outfit?” he asked Don.
“Yeah, sorry. It was hard work making these last night, so I could only make all of you one outfit. I couldn’t even make the Racksons one…” he said, looking apologetically at Master Rackson and Rose. They exchanged a glance and simply shrugged their understanding.
“Why don’t you put yours on Mo?” M asked; his Skin Armor was the easiest to pick out since he was the only one with a blue jean vest to go with his long sleeved, fitted white shirt and khakis. “Go on, change out of that junk and see what Don made for you!”
“I already have mine on…” Mo said, gesturing at the purple and yellow plaid shirt and brown pants he was wearing.
“Oh...” M replied. He quickly looked away while Rod barely suppressed a laugh.
Master Rackson took control of the situation by changing the subject. “What combinations have you come up with?” he asked.
“Well, I know that with fire I kinda have to be careful when Rod or Mo are doing something,” De began.
“Yes, this is correct. Morgan’s ice based abilities cannot stand up to intense flames. However, by combining your abilities with Rodrik’s you can do something fairly useful. Can you think of what a large amount of water and heat could create?” Master Rackson asked. De took a moment to think of the answer, but Rod beat him to it.
Master Rackson smiled. “Yes. Steam is an excellent smokescreen for quick getaways and can even sometimes be damaging. It may be very useful to you in the future. What else?”
“Well, electricity can spark fires to make them bigger, so I can help him a lot,” M said, pointing at De. “Water also conducts electricity so Rod and I are more powerful together, but we knew that already,” M said, thinking back to how when he and Rod first started training together they faced off with the Racksons.
“Good, good,” Master Rackson seemed pleased. He turned to Mo. “Morgan have you put any thought to what you can do in combination with your teammates?”
“Umm…the only thing I could think of was how since I can’t make my own ice yet I can use Rod’s water right?” Mo said sheepishly.
“Yes. You and Rodrik are especially linked because of the closeness of your elements. You two make a great combination.” Rod and Mo looked at each other; neither of them thought of themselves as a “good combination” with the other.
“It seems you have put some thought into what I have asked you to do. We will talk more about combination attacks later, but first we will train in sparring. If you are to be successful in fighting the android army A.G. has created, you must be trained in fighting opponents with powers not unlike your own. The androids, as you have no doubt seen, have heightened endurance much just as you do. Their laser attacks are also very powerful; I daresay they are stronger than the attacks you can muster now,” he paused to allow them to protest this. Predictably, M muttered his disagreement and Rod rolled his eyes, but De and Mo simply listened on. “Your main advantage over them will then be the adaptability of your abilities and your agility. You will have to out maneuver and out think the androids in order to succeed. Hopefully, a battle here will teach you all to use your powers creatively and the ample space will teach you to maneuver.”
Don and Rose pulled up two chairs from a corner of the room and sat down, preparing for Master Rackson’s further instructions. The others anxiously waited to hear who their partners would be.
“Maurice, you will spar with Derren. Rodrik, you and Morgan will battle.” Master Rackson turned around towards his sister and Don, and the latter got out of the chair he brought and sat on the floor to make room for the Elemental.
“In this sparring match no outside weapons are allowed,” Master continued, glancing at Rod. Rod shrugged and took a silver and black weapon from his pocket and slid it across the floor towards Master Rackson. Mo looked from the firearm to Rod in utter terror. Rod shrugged.
“I won’t inform anyone of that…” Master Rackson said, handing Rod’s weapon to Rose. “The goal of this ‘match’ is to simply render your opponent unwilling to continue. Unwilling, not unable,” Master Rackson added. He had no doubt seen the dangerous glares M and De had exchanged. “Remember, however, despite the outcome of the match you will all still be needed in our journey to reclaim the city and to clear Henry’s name.”
At his father’s name Mo sighed sadly, causing Rod to loudly ask “Can I get a sparring partner who’s not putting out more water than me?” Mo scowled at him, but saw Rod’s “piece” on the floor beside Don and changed his expression quickly.
Master Rackson ignored him. “That reminds me,” he said. He walked back to the house at the back of the bunker and returned with a much larger and fuller bucket of water. He pushed it in between Rod and Mo and returned to this seat. “Are you all ready?” All four Elementals nodded, never taking their eyes off their opponent.
“Ready…” Master Rackson called. They all tensed up for the coming battle.
“I’m going to show you what it takes to be on this team…” M taunted.
“You’re gonna show me that you don’t have it?” De said, much to M’s anger.
“GO!!!” Master Rackson called, and the battle was on.
M immediately raised his hands and released a bolt of electricity from them. However, De took Master Rackson’s advice about maneuvering and leapt away from the attack. M continued his electrical attacks, making De run around the room to dodge them.
“Attack, De! Stop running!” Rose yelled.
De decided to just that. He spun around to face M, and as he spun, he kicked his foot in the Electric Elemental’s direction, sending a burst of fire towards him. M wasn’t expecting this, so the fire caught him in the stomach and made him double over in pain. Luckily, Don’s Skin Armor was indeed fireproof, and the attack caused no damage to his clothing. De took the advantage over his sparring partner and continued to barrage M with fire.
“That’s hot…” Rose said, eyeing the balls of flaming energy coming from De. Master Rackson and Don stared at her. “What?” she asked, looking back at them. “It is hot, you guys aren’t sweating?”
It seemed that De’s heat was affecting Mo, as well. As Rod splashed him with the water from the bucket, he was unable to turn any of it into solid ice, and each time he tried he only made Rod splash him harder. The two went back and forth; with Mo trying to freeze the air around Rod, failing, and Rod using the water to splash Mo. Eventually Rod grew tired of this back and forth, and summoned all the water around the two of them and launched it in a continuous wave at Mo.
“I…can’t….breathe…” Mo choked
“Well fight back then!” Rod taunted. He did not let up on poor Mo, and was using his other hand to recycle the water so that the Elemental barely got a moment of air in between waves. Poor Mo wouldn’t be able to withstand this torture for much longer…
M was refusing to be beaten that easily. A well timed bolt of electricity struck De’s left hand and freed M from the fiery barrage. It was now M’s turn to overwhelm De with his powers…for all of fifteen seconds. De caught on to M’s attack pattern quite quickly and used his powers to propel himself into the air. The force of the propulsion sent a wave of fire all around De’s launching point, and M had to practice his own dodging skills to avoid it. The wave did however, connect with Rod, who yelled in shock and lost his focus on his attack on Mo. This was all the opportunity Mo needed and used the break in heat to release a blast of chilling air towards Rod. He froze the water around Rod’s hands and feet, effectively stopping his attack and Rod’s movement.
“Go Mo!” Don leapt from the floor to cheer his best friend on.
Mo stood up and scooped some of the water on the floor around him in his hand. He froze the water in his hand, and threw the newly formed block of ice at Rod. Rod winced but was forced to endure. Mo continued this ice tossing, much to Rod’s anger.
“Alright bud!” Don was as excited as if he himself were beating Rod. This continued cheering proved to be a mistake, as when Mo smiled at his friend, he gave Rod the opportunity he needed. He moved his fingers a few inches and was able to bring enough rushing water to his hands to free them from the ice. He smashed his hands against the ice on his feet, freeing them. He grimaced through the pain in his hands, but his glare at Mo made it clear he would make the Ice Elemental pay for his torment.
“Pay attention, Morgan!” Master Rackson yelled, but it was too late. Rod was free and used the left over water around the two to return to drowning Mo.
“Bet you thought you were doing good, huh?” Rod gloated. “You ain’t good enough, boy.” Mo tried to recover from this renewed attack, but the water was again proving to be too much. It looked like Mo might really lose this time; Master Rackson even rose from his seat to stop the sparring when Rod was struck again, this time by a bolt of electricity. Thanks to all the water around him, the electricity shocked Rod to his core. He fell down backwards, still jittery from his electric encounter. Mo began to laugh at Rod’s predicament, but Rod was now fully focused on getting back at M. He waved his hand and sent some of the water rushing at M. The young teen was too busy dodging De’s flames and trying to land his own attack to notice this sneak attack.
“Hey!” M yelled after the burst of water hit him. He tried to move his soggy afro out of his eyes and shot off a few blasts of electricity. Of course, since he was covered in the element that conducted electricity, all of M’s attacks backfired and hit him. The electricity couldn’t harm M, but as he was still blinded by his own hair when he ran around the room to locate his attacker he eventually bumped into De. De was too busy laughing at M, and didn’t realize that the electricity around M would hurt him until it did. By this time Rod was crying laughing at his comrades, and De, embarrassed and angry, tried to start a blaze in his direction. Rod, having learned his lesson from previous attacks, dodged it and the blast hit Mo (who screamed). This made Rod laugh even harder.
Master Rackson had grown tired of this. “That’s enough!” he said to his students. “Come here.” The four of them walked towards the spectators, no doubt quite the sight. Rod was still wiping tears of laughter from his eyes, Mo’s clothes were steaming from the combination of water and fire on them, M was still soaking wet, and De was clutching his chest.
“That was pathetic!” Master Rackson snapped. “You fought the others more than you fought your sparring partners!”
“He shouldn’t of hit me,” Rod protested, pointing at M. “Work on your aim before you get somebody killed!”
“Learn to get out of the way then!” M yelled in defense.
“ALL of you are to blame!” Master Rackson yelled over both of them. “I saw petty distractions, poor aiming, unnecessary attitudes and wasteful taunting, all things that could and would get you killed in a real battle!” Master Rackson’s words hit home, as all four Elementals avoided his gaze in shame. Master Rackson sighed deeply. “Perhaps I was wrong. You four clearly need much more training in simply getting along with one another before you could have a prayer at taking over this factory, let alone facing A.G.” Even Rose and Don were looking embarrassed now. “Go clean yourselves up; we’re done for the day.” He turned and walked back up the stairs.
Rose glanced after him and turned back to the students. “Don’t worry; he’s just a little on edge right now, he’ll be fine after a while.” She dashed upstairs to catch up with her brother, leaving Don and the Elementals alone in an uncomfortable silence.
“Ummm…I think it’s about dinner time for me…Mo, if you wanna come by, just give me a call,” and with that he also left the Elementals. Though none of them spoke, they all shared the same thought. If they didn’t clean up their act soon, they would all be learning to work together in the factory.
The Elementals are the product of years of hard work and creativity. This novel, the first in a series, is only the beginning of my journey to change the face of superheroes into one that is more inclusive. It is a combination of my love of Blackness (in all its forms) and my desire to see Black owned businesses thrive that drove me to do this the only way I know how: All Black Everything. I hope that you all will support this series starting next week by buying the novel and telling others about it not just because you support me, but because seeing representation in media is important for children of ALL ages. So welcome to #Elementober and I hope you enjoy your time!