Dan Masters had just arrived home from college, a copy of his transcript in his hand. His mother, Janine Masters, had insisted he bring it home today. Dan didn't really care about his grades, however, as his mind was preoccupied with the new role-playing session he was going to attend. Dan was a huge fan of Dungeons and Dragons and constantly played with his friends during the week. This, however, was seriously causing his grades to slump.
Dan entered his house and was immediately encountered by his mother, a thirty-seven year old woman who's boyfriend abandoned her when she'd become pregnant. A former cheerleader, Janine still retained a great deal of her figure, even after giving birth to Dan. She had long hair which reached halfway down her back and was dyed blond. Janine's chilling blue eyes flared at Dan as soon as she saw the transcript.
“You're failing, aren't you?” shouted Janine, her hands on her hips. “Dan, what's wrong with you?! If this keeps up we'll have to get a student loan and sell the house! Why can't you just-”
“Will you please just SHUT UP!” roared Dan. He was aware of his faults, and having them beaten into his head wasn't helping. Much to Dan's surprise, his mother suddenly fell silent. Looking at Janine, Dan saw that her mouth was open, looking like it was trying to form a G. Yet for some reason Dan's mother merely stood there, as if a mannequin in a store window. “Mom?” whispered Dan, suddenly a bit concerned. Then he heard what sounded like giggling and whirled around.
Standing in front of the house's door were what had to be two goblins, Dan decided. Indeed, the pair was Tick and Tock, the servants of Loki, come to call on the rather unremarkable young man. “Our master Loki has sent us with a gift!” exclaimed Tick.
“Yes, he wishes for you to serve him!” added Tock.
“What?” asked Dan, not grasping what was going on. Janine has suddenly become frozen in place and now two goblins who shouldn't even exist were talking about a Norse god. Needless to say, Dan was lost.
“Our master will grant you powers from your wildest dreams, so long as you promise to use them!” explained Tick. Tock then walked forward, holding in his hands a pair of sunglasses with red lenses and a black digital watch. Dan himself was currently wearing a collared shirt, dark slacks and a yellow and black stripped tie.
“You want me to put these on?” asked Dan. Not seeing the harm, Dan took he accessories from Tock and put them on. “Wow!” exclaimed Dan as the glasses slid into place. The young student suddenly felt like he had a great deal more energy. All at once information came pouring into Dan's head. Before long he'd realized what the glasses had just done to him. “I'm a... wizard?!” gasped Dan.
“These glasses make your greatest dream real!” explained Tock. “You dreamed that you were a Dungeon Master in real life, and now you are! You can cast spells and your commands must be obeyed!”
Dan suddenly felt incredibly excited. “Then I am the Dungeon Master,” decided Dan, turning to face his mother. “You two froze her, didn't you? Release her, and tell your master I will gladly use my new powers.” Pleased, Tick and Tock placed their palms together and Janine was released from their power.
“... get it through your head that we can't-” continued Janine, unaware of having been frozen, nor noticing her son's new glasses or the two goblins behind him.
“Be silent and obey,” commanded Dan, his own hands on his hips. Instantly his mother's mouth was sealed and she remained where she was, her eyes showing confusion. “You will no longer speak unless asked. You will not do anything unless asked. Now, go make dinner.” Janine's eyes clouded over and, her mind in that of a zombie-like state, moved into the kitchen.
“I could get used to this...” chuckled Dan, and behind him the two goblins smiled at one another.
* * *
“This guy is going to pay,” muttered Judgement Girl as Lady Justice drove their SUV to the bank. “Leon was just about to ask me out when you came by.” Lady Justice had just gotten the call two minutes ago that someone was trying to rob a nearby bank. The two police that had been sent to the scene had failed to report in, so the superheroes were called. Judgement Girl had been just outside one of the buildings at law school, speaking with the charming Leon Jefferson when her mentor had arrived. Needless to say, she was a bit annoyed. Lady Justice was just glad Victoria wasn't blaming her for what had happened.
Two squad cars were pulled up outside the bank, lights flaring but the officers not inside. Lady Justice and Judgement Girl glanced inside through the glass doors and could see four uniformed police inside, all totting their sidearms. The two heroines raced up the stairs and into the bank to help.
The bank was unusually quiet, the two superheroes noted, as they surveyed the area. There were six security guards around, all who were standing idle as if nothing was happening. Five clerks, four women and one man, all stood and their respective places, standing equally idle though in unusual poses for this. The four officers, all men, stood with their dart guns drawn pointed forwards and weren't moving either. A dozen customers stood at booths or in a line leading to the booths, all seemingly oblivious to everything around them. It didn't take long for Lady Justice and Judgement Girl to realize everyone was frozen.
Initially as the two heroines moved towards the source of the noise they heard they were anticipating Tick and Tock, Judgement Girl holding a stasis field emitter while Lady Justice drew her dart gun. However, as they silently moved to the cash box they noticed that all the security cameras appeared to have melted. Judgement Girl also spotted her friend Jenny Oliver at one booth, leaning down to sign a paper in front of her but the pen hovering a hair's length from the paper. Her teller, a brunette with short and straight hair, stood by with her finger pressing down on a lone key on her computer terminal.
Upon arriving on the other side of the booths the heroines spotted the bank manager, who was standing next to a very young man who was riffling through a cash box, a suitcase on top of it in which he was placing bills. The manager stood with the box's key in her hand, her right arm out at ninety degrees and her face neutral. Unfortunately the man heard the footsteps now that they were close and spun around. “Freeze, don't move!” the man shouted, somewhat panicked. As Judgement Girl raised the field emitter and Lady Justice trained her weapon on the thief both suddenly discovered they could no longer move. Both tried but couldn't even force a twitch or blink, their arms outstretched with their tools held in their straight arms.
“Well, it appears not even our city's so-called superheroes can resist my commands,” laughed the man as he strode over to the helpless heroines. “I am Dungeon Master, and remember that challenging me is pointless. Now, let your minds slip away, let your minds become a blank slate. You are no longer aware of your surroundings. You cannot move, speak or even think. You will remain like this for six hours.” Immediately both Judgement Girl and Lady Justice blacked out, though their bodies remained motionless. Pleased, Dungeon Master plucked the devices from their hands and put them on a nearby booth.
“Ah, such a lovely heroine,” whispered Dungeon Master, his hands moving to fix Judgment Girl's arms. The heroine's arms were placed at her side, and Dungeon Master then proceeded to lean in and touch her face. “Well now, I wonder what those dark lips of yours feel like?” continued Dan as he leaned in and kissed the immobile Judgement Girl. He would continue to do this for half a minute before pulling himself away.
“I suppose every master needs a lady,” decided Dungeon Master. Suddenly a new idea came to mind. “Judgement Girl, you will awaken but only move or speak when I request it,” he told her. “You will be deeply in love with me, and be completely willing to do whatever I command.” Immediately Judgement Girl blinked, though she said nothing. “Kiss me,” Dungeon Master commanded, and immediately Judgement Girl grabbed Dan by the head and pulled him in for a brief but passionate kiss.
“Finish taking the money from the box and put it in that suitcase,” Dungeon Master ordered next, stepping away from his new slave. Dan then unbuckled Lady Justice's utility belt from the motionless superhero and found the keys to the SUV. “Why, thank you,” said Dungeon Master, heading back to the main part of the bank after patting Lady Justice on the ass.
Dungeon Master was planning to merely head out the doors and check the vehicle he was planning on stealing when he saw a woman coming up the steps of the building. It was the city's newest super-powered protector, Lockdown. The FBI agent had her paralysis ray in her hands and Dungeon Master thought fast. As the doors to the bank opened and Lockdown stepped inside Dungeon Master fired off a Flesh to Stone spell, which stuck Lockdown as she moved to touch one of the motionless police officers.
Immediately stuck in place, Lockdown didn't even have time to register Dungeon Master before the spell took effect. Lockdown's left hand had been outstretched, hovering near one cop's back. Her other hand was at her side, tightly gripping her ray. Her face showed signs of worry, since she was no doubt curious why none of the police were moving. Immediately Lockdown, clothes and all, was transformed into a stone statue, her skin become a dull gray marble, her eyes glazing over and losing any signs of life.
By this time Dungeon Master heard Judgement Girl click the suitcase closed from the other side of the bank. “Come here, Judgement Girl,” called Dungeon Master, who then walked over to a woman he hadn't noticed earlier. A woman with black hair wearing a T-shirt and skirt stood in front of the booth, having been told to freeze while signing a receipt. Like with the superheroes, Dungeon Master had told everyone in the bank to remain in a mindless, frozen state for six hours. However, he'd been so preoccupied with destroying the cameras and getting the money that he hadn't noticed the girl. Walking up behind the dark-haired woman, Dan wrapped his arms around the girl's waist and dragged her away from the booth after removing the pen and paper from her hands. The girl remained almost perfectly rigid during this process.
Releasing the woman, Dungeon Master fished through her purse and learned that her name was Jennifer Oliver. By this time Judgement Girl had arrived beside him, holding the suitcase in her right hand. “Jennifer, you will awaken but only move or speak when I request it,” Dan told the other woman. “You will be deeply in love with me, and be completely willing to do whatever I command.” Immediately Jenny blinked but didn't move, awaiting instruction as was Judgement Girl.
“Those who I have not ordered to remain frozen, come with me,” Dungeon Master ordered. Jenny and Judgement Girl followed Dan outside. Along the way Seargent Tilly and Seargent Davies arrived in a third car but as soon as they emerged from the vehicle Dungeon Master merely told them to sleep, causing the pair to collapse. With no further interruptions Dan and his two slaves arrived at the SUV and piled in, Dungeon Master taking the wheel with Judgement Girl beside him and Jenny in the back.
* * *
“I have no idea what happened,” Lady Justice told Claire and Nathan six hours later as they stood outside the bank. “We came in, saw what looked like everyone frozen, then this guy that called himself Dungeon Master told me to freeze and I just... did.” Nathan had his arm around his girlfriend's shoulders and was rubbing her gently. Elsa was nearby studying Lockdown, who was still turned to stone.
“Don't worry, we can track Judgement Girl,” Claire assured Lady Justice. “When we last checked on you two before coming here both your signals were still strong.”
“That's something,” muttered Nathan, then glancing over at Elsa, who was running a scanning device up and down Lockdown's rigid body. “What's the problem, Elsa? Can't you just use one of your devices to restore her?”
Elsa clicked off her device and shook her head sadly. “I'm afraid I can't do that,” Elsa told the group. “Whatever this guy did to her has completely transformed her. Unlike the other times this has happened to someone, she's 100% solid marble. There's no trace of her original genetic make-up for me to work with. She is, for all intensive purposes, a complete statue.”
This really got Lady Justice worried. “You mean we can't change her back?” asked the heroine.
“Not without the man's help, no,” admitted Elsa. “We know that Victoria and Jennifer Oliver are both missing from the scene, so lets try tracking them down. With any luck we can nab this guy and make him restore her. Stephanie isn't the only one in trouble either, you know. Carl and Alice can't be roused using anything we've tried, so it's possible they might never wake up unless told to.”
As the four moved to Elsa's van Lilly appeared, running towards them from down the street. “I just heard on the radio that Jenny and Vicky have gone missing!” cried Lilly as she stopped short beside Elsa's vehicle, panting for breath. “Let me come with you, please!”
Knowing fully well that Lilly had helped them in the past, the group agreed. Elsa quickly used a tracking device in her van to pick up Judgement Girl's location. Lady Justice caught a ride with Nathan since her SUV was missing while the other women rode in the van.
It wasn't long before the two vehicles spotted the superheroes' SUV parked outside a middle-class suburban home. During the rough six hours he'd had to himself, Dungeon Master had returned to his home with his new slaves. Dan had then decided he no longer needed his mother around at the moment and sent her to bed. Judgement Girl and Jenny meanwhile undressed somewhat, Judgement Girl down to her blue bra and panties while Jenny merely removed her top to reveal a purple brassiere. Dungeon Master also had Judgement Girl remove her trademark black lipstick and then had the two keep him company while he watched television and made some special orders over the phone, having a virtual parade of food delivery people come by over the next few hours.
Preparing themselves for anything, the five entered the house through the front door, not bothering to knock. Dungeon Master heard the noise and shut off the TV, then ordering his two slaves to remain where they were while we went to investigate. Then realizing there was a much simpler solution, Dungeon Master cast a Time Stop spell before entering the main hall. The spell covered the entire house in a time-bubble, freezing all save Dan as they were literally caught between the ticks of a clock. Oddly enough everything within the time-bubble seemed to go black and white, unlike with Tick and Tock.
Turning the corner Dungeon Master saw the five frozen figures that were his intruders. Claire's knuckles were on her hips and she appeared to have been scanning the room. Elsa and Lilly were both caught in mid-step, their arms in front of their bodies in a sort of defensive stance. The most unusual pose was that of Lady Justice, who's left arm was in front of her body while her right was raised above it. Nathan had entered last and hovered near the door, stuck in a typical standing pose.
“I guess you didn't learn your lesson at the bank,” chuckled Dungeon Master, his voice seeming to echo. “Alright then, I'll just have to show you my artistic side!” While time was stopped, Dungeon Master could still weave spells, though they would not actually shoot towards their targets until time resumed. Dungeon Master just had enough time to create five Flesh to Stone spells before his Time Stop spell expired.
Immediately, before anyone could react, all five were struck by their own spells. A wave of dull marble washed over the four women like a wave, turning them to stone from front to back. This was over than less than a second, and now the only person left was Nathan, much to Dungeon Master's surprise. “You're immune?” asked Dan. Nathan was still trying to reorient himself after the Time Stop spell had ended.
“You're the one?” asked Nathan, glancing with concern at the four petrified women. “You're just a kid! What exactly were you hoping for here?” Nathan didn't take up a fighting stance in fear that it would provoke Dungeon Master.
“On your knees!” ordered Dungeon Master, but Nathan remained where he was. This was new, since Nathan was supposedly only immune to transformations, not mind-control. “What?! This is impossible!”
“Apparently your powers come from the same source, which for some reason don't work on me,” stated Nathan, thankful to be still in control of his own body. “Come on, tell me. Why did you rob that bank? What's your goal?”
“Shut up!” shouted Dungeon Master. “Eat this!” Nathan was suddenly blasted backwards as a Magic Missile spell struck him head on. Immediately Nathan felt weak and couldn't find the energy to stand, at least not right then.
“Ha, and that was just a level one spell!” taunted Dungeon Master. “Jennifer, Judgement Girl! Come and watch as I show this fool who the master is! Give me encouragement!”
As Nathan grunted and tried to lean up he saw Judgement Girl and Jenny Oliver enter the room. Neither wore shoes, shirts or lipstick. Both stopped behind Dungeon Master and proceeded to offer typical compliments and encouraging words. “Beat him, master!” exclaimed Jenny.
“Wipe the floor with him!” added Judgement Girl. Both were totally in Dan's power.
“Is that what you really want?!” shouted Nathan. “All you have are a couple of mindless puppets! They don't love you! You have to see what your doing isn't right!”
Dungeon Master had been planning to incinerate Nathan with a fireball but stopped, hesitant for a few reasons. First of all he'd never killed anyone and was horrified that he was trying to. Secondly he realized that he really wasn't happy with his love slaves. He had dreamed of having a proper girlfriend, and what he had wasn't that at all. “I... don't want to hurt people...” whispered Dungeon Master.
“Take him down, master!” cried Judgement Girl, still following orders.
“Shut up, both of you!” ordered Dan. Immediately both women shut their mouths and stood at attention, awaiting further orders. Turning to look at Judgement Girl, Dan's heart felt heavy. “No... how could I do this...” he muttered. “I just wanted to make a few changes, but now I've gone too far...”
“You have to let them go!” pleased Nathan, finally standing but using the petrified Lady Justice for support. “Not just them, everyone! You're hurting them by turning them to stone and keeping them here against their will! Only you can reverse the effects of your own powers!”
Realizing that Nathan was right, Dan slowly nodded. “I'll let them all go,” muttered Dan. Reaching up to his face Dan slowly pulled off his sunglasses. With the removal of his glasses from his magical conduit, Dungeon Master's powers faded. With his powers gone, immediately all Dan's magic was also canceled out. The four women instantly returned to flesh and blood, the sleeping police awoke, Lockdown also returned to normal, Janine awoke and both Jenny and Judgement Girl became aware of their situation.
As everyone began to look around in confusion Dan quickly slid his glasses back on and cast another Time Stop spell. He then proceeded to cast a series of charm spells, which took effect as soon as time resumed. Dungeon Master had figured out that Nathan resisted his normal commands because they caused brain alternation, unlike normal hypnosis and magical enchantments. Thus when time resumed this time everyone was completely under his control, and Dan immediately ordered them all to freeze, making sure his mother was affected too. After leaving the hall to grab Judgement Girl's uniform and Lady Justice's utility belt Dan returned to the room.
“You will all forget that I possess these powers,” he told the group as he walked over to Lady Justice and clipped the belt around her waist. The superhero, like all the other women, had froze while looking around in confusion, her hands in front of her with her fingers spread and her mouth hanging open. “Everyone except Judgement Girl, Lady Justice and My mother will leave the house and drive away, forgetting the whole adventure. It will be officially stated that Gorgun robbed the bank.” Immediately Lilly, Claire, Elsa, Nathan and Jenny left the house, Elsa casually giving Jenny a ride home.
“Judgement Girl, you will find me attractive and call me later so we can arrange a date,” Dan told the younger heroine as he pressed her uniform and boots into her hands. “You and Lady Justice will now leave.” Just like that Lady Justice and Judgement Girl left Dungeon Master's house. He was aware that Jenny had left her top, shoes and purse behind, but planned to return those later in case the date with Judgement Girl didn't go so well. Dan chuckled at the thought.
Continued in Winter Comes Early ...