Chapter 1: The Calm Before the Storm
Chapter 1: The Calm Before the Storm
In a time of great strife, a legendary interdimensional being known as Wayne, came to the city of Orlando to establish a vanguard in the never ending struggle against evil. With the aid of his trusted assistant, Jess, the noble master sought out six extraordinary teenagers and gave them the power to transform into an unstoppable fighting force. In time of great need, the young heroes could now call upon colossal assault vehicles known as “Zords”. While the identity of the six remained a closely guarded secret, their courageous exploits soon became the stuff of Legend, earning them the title…The Kingdom Keepers…
The small, yellow prop plane whisked across the cloudless blue sky over the city of Orlando. The pilot focused on his job as he carried his eight passengers to the designated drop site.
“YeeoowwW!!” yelled Amanda excitedly as she opened the door of the plane. She turned around to grin at her friends.
Finn, Philby, Maybeck, Charlene, and Willa returned her grin. The teens all sported sleek skydiving suits, parachute packs, and helmets in their respective Keeper colors. Finn was strapped into a high-tech airboard.
“We’re OUTTA here!!” Amanda exclaimed anxiously.
“Easy, Manda.”, cautioned Charlene. She knew that the red ranger was just as eager as the rest of the team to begin the jump. Everyone was counting on Orlando High School to win first place in the contest.
Finn, the leader of the team stepped forward to stand beside his fellow rangers.
“Once we hit the target zone, we have fifteen seconds to make the drop”, he explained.
“Step aside, pinheads!”
Greg Luowski and Dillard Cole forced their way through the crowd of Keepers, each wearing bizarre skydiving suits, complete with World War II leather caps and aviator goggles.
The Keepers tried their best to keep a straight face.
“The Stealth Eagle is about to fly”, announced Luowski in a determined voice.
“Ditto for the Swooping Swallow”, Cole added.
The Keepers shared an amused look.
“Well then,” Maybeck replied, “lead on, flyboys!” He gestured to the open door.
Charlene stopped them when they were halfway to the other side of the plane.
“Hey, guys!”, she said.
Luowski and Cole turned around to look at her.
“You might want to put those on!”
She pointed to a far corner of the plane where the two remaining parachutes were waiting.
Luowski and Cole exchanged worried looks.
“Good idea!” they said in unison as they grabbed their gear and began strapping them to their suits.
The strange pair walked to the door and froze in their tracks. They looked at each other for several seconds, then back at the vast open sky, and finally back at each other. Both of them swallowed hard.
“Luowski…where did the Earth go??” Cole asked nervously.
“Five seconds to the target zone!” informed Philby.
“Maybeck, you’re on!” Finn told him.
Luowski and Cole quickly stepped out of the way as Maybeck launched himself out of the plane, giving his fellow keepers a thumbs-up as he did so.
Charlene followed next.
“On your tail!” squealed Willa.
“All systems are go!!” screamed Philby.
Finn and Amanda paused at the door and smiled at each other. Amanda indicated with one hand that Finn should go first.
“Surf’s up!” her boyfriend declared.
Finally, it was Amanda’s turn. She stood with her back facing the doorway and grabbed the sides of the plane with both hands.
“Catch you on the flipside!!” she said to Luowski and Cole.
She was gone in the blink of an eye.
The Keepers plummeted through the atmosphere as they made their dramatic entrance back down to the Earth’s surface. They flipped, twisted, dived, and fishtailed their way through the deep blue sky.
Three thousand feet above the drop zone, the Keepers met up with one another and grabbed each other’s hands as they formed a perfect circle. Although the six teens couldn’t hear it, they knew the large crowd below them was cheering.
They held their current positions for an entire minute, taking time to share a laugh before dropping hands and releasing their parachutes.
As they approached the grounds of the Magic Kingdom, they were finally able to distinguish some of the people in the crowd.
Storey Ming, Finn’s neighbor, cheered louder than anyone else the moment the Keepers came into view. Her father stood beside her, sharing his daughter’s enthusiasm.
The Keepers were less than a hundred feet from the target now. The bullseye had been placed in the Town Square area of Main Street U.S.A. A male announcer called out each Keeper’s name over the loudspeaker as they landed on the drop zone.
Finn, the last one to land, received the loudest applause of all.
“And the winner, with all six participants successfully landing on the target is, Orlando High!!”
All of the Keepers exchanged high fives as they removed their parachutes.
Storey raced over to meet them, a huge smile forming on her face.
“That was amazing!!”
“Thanks, Storey”, Finn answered. “Glad you could make it.”
Mr. Ming approached Finn and shook his hand.
“Congratulations on your success today, Finn.”
“Thank you, Mr. Ming.”
“Hey, guys! Are we going to get something to eat, or what?” asked Maybeck.
Finn grinned and shook his head. Maybeck was always thinking with his stomach.
The Keepers said good-bye to Storey and her father, then raced down Main Street in search of lunch.
They had no idea that their next battle was lurking nearby, waiting to be unleashed…
Meanwhile, Luowski and Cole still had not exited the plane. They stood stock still in the doorway, hesitant to move.
“Boys, if you’re going to jump, you’d better do it now,” the pilot demanded. “I’m running out of gas up here.”
The boys nodded reluctantly.
“Be the eagle, be the eagle, be the eagle”, Luowski whispered to himself.
“Be the swallow, be the swallow, be the swallow”, Cole joined in.
The two gave each other a reassuring look, took a deep breath, and jumped.
They screamed all the way down to the ground.
As the six Keepers ran through Fantasyland, they passed the Disney Imagineers and construction workers who were busy completing the framework on a new attraction.
One man was using a shovel to dig into the foundation of the new Seven Dwarves Mine Train roller coaster. He whistled, “When You Wish Upon A Star” as he worked.
Suddenly, the trowel of the shovel hit something hard buried beneath the earth. It bounced back with a long, metallic clang that vibrated the entire tool.
The man stopped working.
What on Earth?
“Hey, Joe! I think I found something here!! Get a backhoe down here quick!!”
Moments later, the construction crew had unearthed a massive blue egg held in place by what looked like a huge, closed metal hand. All thoughts of work were forgotten as the workers apprehensively gathered around the strange object.
“Whadda you figure it is?”
“Hey, you got me!”
The man who had been digging edged closer to the egg and stretched out his arm.
“Steve!! Are you INSANE!!??”
“Relax, Eric!”, said Steve, “It’s just an egg!! What could it possibly-?”
Steve’s hand had touched the outer layer of the egg. Seconds later, a strange blue energy came out of the egg and surged up his arm. He screamed for help for several seconds before being blasted off his feet and landing several yards away from the egg.
The crew ran over to Steve, picked him up, and ran as fast they could from the construction zone.
Luowski and Cole slowly made their final descent to the Park. Sometime during their adventure, a strong wind had knocked them into one another and entangled their parachutes together.
“Stealth Eagle? Lame Duck is more like it!!” Cole grumbled.
Luowski rolled his eyes in his disbelief.
The wind had blown them off course and away from the target zone. Now they finally set foot on the solid ground of the construction area.
The sound of screaming brought them both back to their senses. They turned in surprise as hundreds of workers and Imagineers ran toward them.
“What are you two standing around for?? RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!”
For once, Luowski and Cole didn’t bother to ask why. They untangled themselves from the parachutes and followed the crowd from the construction yard.
Meanwhile, the Keepers had just settled down to lunch at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café.
As they tucked in to their delicious cheeseburgers, Finn’s wristcommunicator started beeping.
All of the Keepers exchanged knowing looks and began looking around the patio of the restaurant where they were sitting.
Once they were sure they were alone, Finn spoke into his communicator.
“We read you, Jess.”
“Keepers,” a female voice said over the static, “Wayne needs you in Escher’s Keep!! It’s urgent!!”
“We’re on our way!”
“Looks like we’ll have to take lunch to go,” said Philby.
As one, the Keepers pressed a button on the morphers on their belts and in the next second, all six of them had disappeared in six colored rays of energy.
Chapter 2: Evil has Risen
The Keepers come face to face with Hades...
Chapter 2: Evil has Risen
The six energy beams of color flew over Tomorrowland, past the Partners statue, and finally streaked past the moat surrounding Cinderella’s Castle. They circled the castle once before flying in the window of the tower.
Moments later, the Keepers materialized inside Escher’s Keep.
The cavernous space was filled with control panels and pillars of light. Staircases on the ceiling created a disorienting sensation for anyone who accidently stumbled upon the Keepers secret headquarters.
At the front of the room, a large clear tube sat in between two of the lighted pillars. It was vacant for now.
“Keepers! You made it!”
The Keepers turned to look at the person who had spoken.
Jess, a young girl with pale skin and jet black hair walked over to them. She wore a Mickey Mouse t-shirt and a pair of denim blue jeans with flip flops.
“Hey, Jess. It’s great to see you!” said Finn.
At that moment, the two pillars of light at the front of the room crackled to life. A second later, the head of the Keepers’ mentor, Wayne, appeared in the tube.
“What’s going on, Wayne?” asked Maybeck.
“Keepers, you must act swiftly! The planet is in grave danger!” Wayne answered solemnly.
“Danger from what?” Charlene wanted to know.
“Fifty-eight years ago, a Morphological being, known as Hades, ruled the world with a reign of unparalleled terror. He was on the verge of completing creation of his ultimate weapons, the Olympian Titans, twin monsters capable of enslaving the entire universe.”
“What happened to him?” Amanda questioned.
“A group of young warriors, like yourselves, lured him into a hyper-lock chamber and buried him deep underground; but now the chamber has been accidently uncovered. You must return it to the depths before it is discovered and Hades is released.”
Jess spoke up.
“His Olympian Titans were buried near the chamber. If Hades escapes, he’s sure to find them!”
“Use extreme caution, Keepers. You are dealing with an evil here that is beyond all imagination.”
Later that night, a Disney security guard finished his patrol of the construction yard. After the events of the afternoon, police barriers and caution tape had been placed around the mysterious egg. All work on the Seven Dwarves Mine Train ride had been postponed until further notice.
Satisfied that everything was as it should be, the bored guard settled into the collapsible folding chair he had brought with him. He didn’t understand what the big deal was. Why did the egg even need guarding? It was just an egg! Probably somebody’s idea of a sick joke, although Steve had been rushed to the hospital…
The night was eerily quiet. The guard glanced over to his partner, who had fallen asleep in his own chair, and shook his head.
Rookie, he thought as he sipped his coffee.
The guard spun around quickly to locate the source of the noise. His partner had woken up at the unexpected sound and fell out of his chair.
Both guards were shaking as they looked at the new arrivals.
Four figures had surrounded the egg. They were the most feared villains in the entire universe. The Kingdom Keepers had defeated them numerous times over the years: Jafar, Maleficent, Chernabog, and Gaston.
Maleficent was yelling at Jafar.
“Another Saturday night, and I’m out traipsing around the galaxy with the three little pigs!! My mother warned me this would happen! ‘Maleficent,’ she said, ‘after 89 marriages, you might want to think about throwing in the towel.’ Why didn’t I listen to her?”
“That’s a good question,” mumbled Jafar.
The evil sorcerer noticed the movement of the guards standing a few feet away.
“You two must be exhausted!! Why don’t you take a little nap?”
The guards tried to run away, but before they had moved a single step, they had both been hit by Jafar’s snake staff. Within seconds, they were laying unconscious in the dirt.
Jafar and his minions laughed evilly before turning their attention back to the egg.
“What do I care about some stupid egg?” Maleficent complained.
“This is no ordinary egg,” replied Jafar.
“Well, I say we hard-boil the thing!” squealed his wife.
“I’m with her, I’m starving!!” Gaston joined in.
“That’s because you’re a pig!!” Chernabog told him.
Jafar shot a bolt of energy at the large blue egg and took a step back.
At first, nothing happened.
Then, the egg opened up with a WHOOSH! Blue smoke completely surrounded it.
When the smoke dissipated, the four figures were able to see the large amount of blue goo inside of the egg.
“What? You spent 20 years looking for a tub of snot??” Maleficent screamed at her husband as she swirled her fingers in the sticky substance.
“Patience, Motormouth!” growled Jafar. “Watch.”
As Jafar spoke, the mysterious goo began to ooze out of the egg. It gathered into a pool on the ground. Soon, it began to grow and grow until it had completely formed into a tall male figure.
He was wearing dark gray robes, his hair was made out of blue flames, and his skin was as gray as Death itself. He looked at the small crowd before him with yellow eyes.
“Ladies and gentlemen!” he proclaimed in a booming voice, “Hades is back!!”
“He’s so handsome.” Maleficent exclaimed.
“Why, thank you!” replied Hades with a small bow.
Tired of the endless chatter, Jafar angrily stepped forward.
“I am Jafar, sworn enemy of all that is good and decent. It is a supreme honor to finally meet you.”, he said to Hades with his own bow.
“How can I ever repay you?” asked Hades.
“Do you recall the name…Wayne of Yensid?”
At his words, Hades looked up at the black sky and let out an earsplitting yell. Thunder rumbled, lighting flashed, and the ground shook.
“I think he’s heard of him,” said Gaston.
Pleased with Hades’ answer, Jafar continued his request.
“I want you to destroy Wayne, so that my evil may once again reign supreme!”
Hades answered with an evil smile.
“I will not only destroy him, I will obliterate his entire being! It will be as if Wayne of Yensid never existed!!”
“Finally, a REAL man!” said Maleficent.
Jafar ignored her.
“We shall leave you to weave your wicked ways. Come, Maleficent.”
The four villains dematerialized into thin air.
Hades looked around the strange new world he had woken up to. He took a deep breath through the nose, then paused.
“What is that odious stench?”, he wondered aloud, “It smells like…TEENAGERS!!”
Moments after Jafar and his goons vanished from the construction site, the six Keepers teleported themselves a short distance away from where the egg had been discovered.
They surveyed the area for a moment.
“Anybody see anything?” Maybeck asked.
“Let’s try over there,” said Finn, pointing to a slope just ahead of them.
Cautiously, the six teens climbed up the steep incline. As they reached the top, they saw the strange blue egg for the first time. They quickly hurried towards it.
“It looks like it’s been opened!” said Amanda, alarmed.
Suddenly, Maybeck felt a hand on his shoulder.
“Hey!” came a strange voice.
The Keepers turned around in surprise. They relaxed a little when they realized the man was a Disney security guard.
“What are you kids doing here?”
The teens looked at each other for a moment, unsure of what to say.
Finally, Charlene spoke up.
“Um, you haven’t by any chance seen a morphological being lurking around here?”
“Morphological being?” asked the guard, puzzled.
“What the heck is that? Wait a second. Did it look something like this?”
His entire body began to change right in front of the eyes of the Keepers. In a matter of seconds, Hades had appeared before them.
The Keepers jumped back in shock.
“Ew, gross!!” cried Charlene.
“You’re too kind. Allow me to introduce myself. I am the galctically feared, globally reviled, universally despised- they call me Hades!”
“Well, pack your bags,” ordered Amanda, pointing at Hades, “because we’re sending you right back where you came from!”
“Gee, a teenager with a big mouth,” said Hades, sarcastically, “not much has changed in fifty-eight years!”
“You obviously don’t know who you’re dealing with, Mr. Hot Head!”, Charlene said insultingly.
“Really?” asked Hades, folding his arms.
“Yeah,” Finn answered in a threatening voice, “we’re the Kingdom Keepers!”
“Ooooh! Where’s my autograph book?” chuckled Hades. “Kingdom Keepers, eh? So, Wayne’s still using a bunch of kids to do his dirty work. Well, meet my kids!”
Hades raised his hands to the sky. Blue electricity crackled from his fingers. It crashed to the ground and an army of dead souls appeared in every place it struck. They gathered behind Hades menacingly.
“From this moment forth, the world as you know it shall cease to exist! Welcome to my NIGHTMARE!!”
Then Hades vanished in a cloud of blue smoke, leaving the Keepers alone with the dead souls.
Chapter 3: Powerless
The Keepers battle the army of dead souls. Hades finds his way into Escher's Keep.
All previous disclaimers apply.
Chapter 3: Powerless
The army of grotesque creatures slowly made their way closer to the Keepers. The kids all formed fighting stances as they prepared to attack.
“What do we do now?” asked Charlene, looking at her fellow Keepers.
Willa glanced behind them at the other side of the construction zone. The area they were standing on overlooked a large, flat piece of Earth.
“Looks like there’s plenty of room down there.”
“Let’s do it, guys!” said Finn. He back-flipped over the caution tape, shouting a karate yell as he did so. Seconds later, he was on his feet on the chosen battlefield.
The other Keepers followed suit, with the dead souls hot on their tails.
The Keepers stood back to back as the army surrounded them. As one, they attacked their foe.
Two of the souls rushed toward Maybeck from either side. He waited until they were almost on top of him, then quickly leaped upward into the air. The souls smashed into each other.
Amanda picked up a nearby two-by-four and began sparring with another soul. They were pretty evenly matched until she quickly stepped to the side and the soul fell face first on the ground.
Philby was cornered up against the construction wall by three of the souls. Thinking fast, he grabbed a huge wooden spool and shoved it towards the foul creatures. The three of them fell down as if they were bowling pins.
Meanwhile, Willa had been knocked off of her feet by one soul. Charlene was trapped in a bear hug by another. She elbowed it in the chest and it released her at once.
The Keepers regrouped in front of the attraction. The army kept coming.
“Man, these things don’t quit, do they?” panted Maybeck.
“Are you guys ready?” asked Finn.
The others nodded and assumed the position.
“IT’S MORPHIN’ TIME!!”
“Black DHI power!!” said Willa, holding her morpher to the sky. Her black Keeper uniform instantly appeared on her body. The helmet was trimmed in gold, as were the arms and legs of her suit. The center of her chest donned a bright amber emblem of Rapunzel.
“Pink DHI power!!” Charlene’s pink uniform also materialized around her. The gold emblem on her chest featured the face of Buzz Lightyear.
“Blue DHI power!!” Philby’s gold symbol on his dark blue uniform showed Prince Naveen.
“Yellow DHI power!!” Maybeck was now wearing his signature yellow suit with Br’er Rabbit’s picture etched on the gold plate on his chest.
“Red DHI power!!” Amanda’s blood red Keeper uniform formed around her body, complete with a gold symbol that featured a picture of Princess Jasmine.
“White DHI power!!” Finally, Finn’s white uniform materialized around him. He felt the warmth of his powers flow through his entire being as he morphed into his Keeper form. A gold emblem of Mickey Mouse appeared on his chest.
“KINGDOM KEEPER POWER!!”
The souls scurried away to the other side of the construction yard fearfully.
Without hesitation, the Keepers followed them.
Back at Escher’s Keep, the trouble had just begun.
“Jess! My sensors tell me that the Keepers were too late!! Hades is on his way here!!”
“Don’t worry, Wayne!” Jess replied. “No one can enter Escher’s Keep without a power coin!”
Suddenly, the emergency lights started flashing!!
Jess and Wayne looked on in fear as a thick blue substance oozed its way through the cracks of the steel door.
“Well, almost nobody!” the young girl whimpered.
The ooze slithered and gurgled its way across the floor. Once again, Hades rose up. He took a moment to look around the huge control panels and computers.
“Gee…pretty fancy-shmancy. I guess if you invest your money well over six decades you can buy yourself something nice.”
Jess aimed a powerful roundhouse kick at Hades. He fired a bolt of blue electricity right back at her. Her entire body shook as the lightning passed through her. She fell to the floor, unconscious but still breathing.
“You haven’t changed, Hades,” said Wayne, “You’re still picking on creatures smaller than yourself.”
Hades chuckled as he approached Wayne’s cylinder.
“Put a cork in it, Old Man! Ten minutes out of the egg, and I’m already listening to one of your lectures.” He exploded furiously.
“You robbed me of my PRIME!! I was the Supreme Ruler of the most foul Empire of the universe. I was the King of Calamity. The Duke of Destruction. The big man on campus!”
He paused for a moment before continuing. “And then, you came along! You locked me into your stuffy little hyper-lock chamber and tossed me into the depths like yesterday’s trash!!”
“It worked for almost sixty years.”
“Don’t remind me.” Hades spat. “Do you have any idea what it’s like to be cooped up in a rotten egg for six decades? It’s BORING!! Not to mention I’ve had a Charlie horse since the fifties! But now the tables have turned!”
Hades raised one hand up in the air. A small flute instantly appeared in it.
“Now it’s time to pay the piper!”
He played a few notes on the flute, then pointed it at one of the control panels. A bolt of lightning shot out of the end of the instrument, instantly blasting the panel into smithereens.
“Oh, the things I have missed. The West Nile Virus!”
Another panel was destroyed.
“The Vietnam War!!”
The pillars of light around the room toppled over like a set of dominos.
“Harry Potter Mania!!”
The panel to his right exploded.
“And now, finally, I have the strength to destroy your pathetic powers forever!!”
“You won’t get away with this, Hades!!”
“I already have!!”
Blue lightning crashed all around the room as the walls echoed with Hades’ laughter…
“Let’s teach these creeps some manners!!” said Finn.
“Activating Power Beam!” exclaimed Maybeck.
A yellow beam of light appeared on his helmet. He guided the rest of the Keepers through the darkness of the newly constructed cue line for the attraction.
Charlene looked around with apprehension. “Everybody stay alert.”
Finn was beginning to feel uneasy. “Anybody see them?”
“Activating Power Scope!” announced Amanda.
A vision scope materialized on her helmet. Through it, she could see the heat signatures of her fellow Keepers as well as the objects surrounding them in the attraction lobby.
All of a sudden, Amanda sensed movement to her left.
“There they are!!”
The dead souls leaped down on top of the Keepers. The kids responded with sucker punches, kicks, and spinback roundhouses.
One of the dead souls tackled Finn to the ground. Both of them tumbled down a twenty foot drop. Finn ended up on top of the soul as they landed on a pile of scaffolding.
The soul vanished upon impact.
“Guys! If you hit the souls hard enough, they disappear!! Try using your weapons on them!”
The other Keepers nodded and summoned their Keeper Swords.
Multi-colored laser blasts shot out of the ends of their swords. They collided with the creatures who then exploded into bits of blue ooze.
“We did it!!” Willa squealed.
“Yes, we did,” Finn agreed, “Now, let’s get back to-“
He didn’t get to finish his sentence.
At that moment, a huge surge of electrical energy surrounded the Keepers. Their eyes grew wide and jaws dropped as their Keeper uniforms dematerialized.
“What’s going on?” asked Charlene, nervously.
Philby tried his wrist communicator.
“Jess. Wayne. Come in.”
“Wayne! Jess! This is Philby, please come in!!”
Still no answer. Not even static.
“Let’s get back to Escher’s Keep.” Finn suggested.
But when the Keepers tried to teleport, nothing happened.
“Something’s wrong!! We need to get back now!!” said Willa.
Without another word, the six teens ran out of the construction zone and headed for Cinderella’s Castle.
Finn just hoped they weren’t too late.
Chapter 4: Quest
The Keepers receive a nasty surprise when they return to Escher's Keep and prepare to embark on a dangerous quest.
Chapter 4: Quest
The kids were exhausted by the time they got back to Escher’s Keep. As if their recent fight wasn’t bad enough, they had to make their way back to the castle from the construction zone, climb three flights of stairs to the tower, and navigate their way through an endless maze of dizzying hallways.
“If I ever complain about teleporting again,” Maybeck began, “I’m giving all of you permission to slap me. Hard. Ok?”
“Can I get that in writing?” asked Philby.
“Knock it off, guys!” Finn ordered.
Finally, the Keepers reached the steel doors of Escher’s Keep. Blue slime covered every inch of surface.
“What is this stuff?” asked Willa.
Maybeck and Finn reached into a small gap between the doors, and after a few seconds of pulling and stretching, they managed to open the doors wide enough to let them all through.
The sight before them stopped them all dead in their tracks.
Escher’s Keep had been completely destroyed. The control panels and computers smoked and sputtered. The pillars of light that powered the entire command center were scattered on the floor like a Jenga game. Nothing was left intact…not even…
The Keepers ran fearfully toward their mentor.
Wayne’s energy tube had been blasted to pieces. He was still a shimmering spectral being, but now he looked as if he had aged at least fifty years. His tiny figure lay on a bed of crystals, unprotected by the safety of his time warp.
Each of the kids wore a thunderstruck expression as they gazed down sadly at their friend.
“What’s happening to him?” Maybeck demanded.
As usual, Professor Philby spoke up.
“Outside of his time warp, he’s aging…at a vastly accelerated rate!”
Wayne opened his eyes.
“Keepers,” he said weakly, “thank goodness you’re safe!”
The Keepers dropped down beside him.
“We have to get you back inside your time warp!” said Finn.
Wayne smiled sadly.
“I’m afraid that’s impossible…The power has been destroyed. It’s gone…The Zords, the weapons…all of it.” He paused for a moment, then added, “The Kingdom Keepers are no more.”
The kids’ jaws dropped. Their eyes bulged. Finn looked at the others in terror as his heart plummeted down to his stomach.
Charlene took Wayne’s hand.
“Wayne, you can’t leave us!!” she cried, “Ever since you came into our lives, you’ve been like a father to us all!!”
“You must be strong…Hades almost overthrew the planet once…and now I’m afraid he has the strength to see his scheme through.”
Wayne closed his eyes. Finn put a hand on Amanda’s shoulder and the kids rose looking very despondent as they slowly walked away from the scene.
A coughing noise nearby made them freeze. They looked to see Jess’ arm for the first time sticking out of a pile of rubble.
“Are you ok?” Willa asked as the Keepers scrambled to free her.
“I’ll be fine, Keepers,” said the girl, “but I’m afraid Wayne isn’t going to be.”
“There has to be something we can do!” said Willa anxiously.
“Come on, guys,” Finn exclaimed, “think!”
Maybeck turned to look at Jess.
“Jess, is there any way we can defeat this monster? Any way at all?”
Jess hesitated briefly before answering. “Perhaps there is another way. I have heard tales of another power…”
Willa looked at her friend in shock. “What?”
“They say that somewhere deep inside Disneyland, there is a magical power that is beyond all comprehension,” Jess continued.
“How can we get to it?” Finn wanted to know.
“As the legend goes, the power is impossible to obtain.”
“We have to try, Jess,” Amanda insisted, “It’s our only hope!”
But Jess shook her head.
“It’s far too dangerous! Wayne would never allow it.”
“If we don’t try,” protested Maybeck, “Wayne won’t survive!!”
“If Hades isn’t stopped, nobody will survive!” added Willa.
Jess sighed heavily.
“Oh for the love of Walt!” She paused. “The legend speaks of a Master Warrior who lives at Disneyland…This is the only person who truly knows the secrets of the power.”
“How can we reach Disneyland?” asked Maybeck.
“There may be just enough power in the controls to teleport you to Disneyland…but there won’t be enough to get you back.” Jess sighed again.
“So, how do we get back?” asked Charlene.
“We’ll just have to pray that the power is there,” said Amanda, “Wayne’s life depends on it.”
Reluctantly, Jess keyed the coordinates into the computer.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” she asked her friends.
The Keepers nodded and lined up in the center of the ruined headquarters.
“Good luck, Keepers! And please be careful!!”
“Don’t worry, Jess,” soothed Finn, “We’ll be back before you know it.”
“Hang on, Wayne,” said Philby, “We’ll find the Great Power and defeat Hades once and for all!!”
Jess pressed a button on the control panel, and the Keepers disappeared into six colored rays of energy.
“Oh for the love of Walt! They’re doomed!!”
Chapter 5: New Boss in Town
Hades is taking over...
Chapter 5: New Boss in Town
The six colored streaks of light blasted through the night sky, sped past the golden orb of the full moon, and disappeared into the distance, twinkling like a star.
They had no idea that someone was watching them.
On the far side of the park, their enemies witnessed their flight.
Maleficent glared angrily at the spot where the Keepers had vanished. She stormed down the wooden steps of the watch tower of Fort Langhorn. Since Tom Sawyer’s Island was currently closed for the season, Jafar had determined it to be the perfect location for his evil lair.
“How could he let them slip through his hands?? He’s no better than the rest of the hired help around here!!”
Chernabog looked up from the telescope he was spying through.
“It looks like they are heading for Disneyland!”
At that moment, Hades stepped regally into the lair looking around as if he owned the place.
“Hi, honey! I’m home!”
“You egg-sucking blue pinhead!!” Maleficent bellowed, “The Keepers are going after the Great Power!!”
She turned to her husband.
“I thought you said this guy was the Master of Disaster! He’s nothing but a slime-infested jelly donut!!”
Hades threw a ball of slime at Maleficent’s mouth. Any further outbursts from her were left unsaid.
“Finally, someone shut her up!!” growled Jafar.
“Your feebleness is staggering,” sneered Hades, “You obviously need a vacation! I think circumstances force us to choose a new leader. And I pick…ME!!”
“Who does this clown think he is??” Jafar demanded furiously.
“The Boogeyman is taking over!” Hades continued. He sat on Jafar’s makeshift throne in the center of the fort’s courtyard.
“Nobody double-crosses Jafar and lives!!”
Jafar zapped Hades with his snake staff. The jet of red energy hit the god squarely in the chest.
“Oh, stop it!” laughed the monster, “It tickles!”
Jafar immediately stopped the attack.
“My turn!” chuckled Hades evilly.
Without another word, he zapped a bolt of blue lightning at Jafar and Maleficent. Seconds later, a small “Greetings from Walt Disney World” snow globe appeared where the two villains had been standing a few moments before.
The villains in question? They were now inside the snow globe!
“Way to go bonehead!!” Maleficent yelled.
“It’s getting so you can’t trust anyone in this theme park!!” Jafar added.
Hades reached for the snow globe and shoved it in the faces of Chernabog and Gaston.
“Now,” he began in a threatening tone, “you have a choice. You either serve me, or you can join these insufferable dingle-dorks!!”
The two henchmen glanced anxiously at each other before looking into the angry eyes of their former leaders.
“Chernabog, get us out of here!!” ordered Jafar.
“Don’t listen to that blue booger!!” Maleficent squeaked.
“Don’t you dare betray me!!”
“Uh, we never liked those dingle-dorks anyway!” said Chernabog to Hades.
“You said it,” added Gaston, “they stink!!”
Satisfied with their answer, Hades smiled.
“Now what are we going to do about the Kingdom Keepers, my lord?” Chernabog wanted to know.
“Ah, yes…the Kingdom Keepers!!” Hades said softly.
He took a deep breath and spit out a large amount of blue goo. It gathered in a puddle halfway across the courtyard.
“Wow! Nice distance!” commented Gaston, (who knew a thing or two about spitting contests.)
“Yeah!” agreed Chernabog.
The trio watched as the blue substance slowly stretched and grew taller. Then, it started to break apart into ten smaller pieces. In a matter of seconds, a troop of ten Green Army Men finished forming. The mindless drones stood at attention and saluted their new boss.
“Now, my soldiers,” Hades commanded, “you will march to Disneyland…you will find the Kingdom Keepers…AND YOU WILL TEAR THEM APART!!”
The army saluted once more, then Hades made them disappear in a puff of blue smoke and a clash of lightning.
Hades grinned an evil grin.
“We have work to do!!”
Chapter 6: The Happiest Place on Earth
The Keepers arrive at Disneyland and meet the Master Warrior.
Ok, so Ariel has been replaced by Rafiki as the Master Warrior because my sister pointed out to me as we were re-watching the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers movie the other night that it makes more sense for him to be the Dulcea character in the story since he can actually fight like she does, and he carries a very dangerous stick that he uses to knock the crap out of people!! Let me know what you think of the changes!!
Chapter 6: The Happiest Place on Earth
A few hours later, the six colored streaks of energy landed in the middle of a small wooded area.
The Keepers looked around in confusion.
“This doesn’t look like Disneyland to me,” said Willa.
“Great! This is just perfect,” Maybeck exclaimed, “Jess must have entered the wrong coordinates!! Now, we’re stuck in the middle of nowhere with no way of getting back home!!”
“Everybody just calm down for a second!!” Finn ordered, “We will figure this out together.”
“Hey, guys,” Philby’s voice called from the other side of the trees, “You might want to take a look at this.”
Curious to see what their fellow Keeper had found, the rest of the group quickly hurried over to him.
They stood in shock as they stared at the sight before them.
A wide flowing river separated them from the opposite shoreline. Directly across from them, they could see a small Indian village full of teepees. It looked a lot like…
“We’ve landed on Tom Sawyer’s Island!!” Amanda squealed, “Jess did it!! She teleported us to Disneyland!!”
“I wouldn’t be celebrating just yet, Amanda,” cautioned Charlene, “Has anybody else noticed that there are no rafts to take us to the other side?? We’re stuck here!!”
The Keepers realized that she was right. If they couldn’t find a way to cross the river, they would not be able to complete their quest. The river was too dangerous to try to swim across, and since the Island closed at dusk, the cast members would have made sure that the rafts had been returned to the loading docks by now.
“Wait a minute…what’s that over there?” asked Finn, pointing to something further down the island.
“It looks like one of the Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes,” Philby answered, “I remember reading something about them a few months ago. One of the Cast Members must have forgotten to take it back to the other side!! If we can get to it, we’ll be able to reach the village and start searching the Park for the Great Power!!”
“I agree with Philby,” said Finn, “The canoe is on the other end of the island, so it will take a little while to get there. Let’s get started.”
He led the way through the trees towards the canoe.
They didn’t have much time.
Back at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, Hades had returned to the construction zone for the Seven Dwarves Mine Train attraction. Chernabog and Gaston were with him, not wanting to do anything to upset their new boss.
“Taking over the world is one thing,” Hades was saying, “Finding good help to run it for you, that’s the killer.”
“Would you like me to make a few calls?” asked Gaston.
“No need. I’m going to recruit the parents of Orlando!”
“Uh, no offense boss,” Chernabog began, “but they might find you a little disgusting.”
Gaston burped, as if to emphasize that statement.
“Well, I suppose you’ll be the experts on that,” sneered Hades as he grabbed Gaston by the chin. “You forget: I’m a master of disguise!”
“How could I forget? I never knew!” Gaston protested.
Hades released him disgusted at the repulsive man before him.
“First, I’ll turn them into zombies and then order them to dig up my Olympian Titans!!”
“Uh, how are you going to do that?” asked Chernabog.
“By showing them the wonders of the wicked with a little help from Hades’ ooze!!”
The Keepers slowly and silently made their way across the rocky terrain of Tom Sawyer’s Island. The park was eerily quiet. Each Keeper was lost in his or her own thoughts.
“Hey,” said Finn looking over at Amanda, who walked beside him, “You okay?”
Amanda looked up at him and wiped the tears from her face.
“I was just thinking about Wayne…everything we’ve been through together.”
Maybeck was quick to agree.
“You know, meeting Wayne…teaming up with you guys, it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”
“It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to all of us,” Charlene added softly.
“He’s going to make it guys,” Willa reassured her friends.
The other’s nodded in agreement and the group continued walking.
“We’ll get this warrior…save Wayne…and send that slimeball Hades back to the sewer he crawled out of!” said Finn with gusto.
His words seemed to sink in for a minute as the silence between them continued.
Suddenly, Finn froze in his tracks! All of his senses were on high alert.
Danger was lurking nearby.
There was a clash of lightning and a rumble of thunder, then a squadron of Green Army Men jumped out from behind the trees!
“TAKE COVER!!” yelled Finn.
But it was too late: the soldiers had the Keepers completely surrounded!!
Without another word, the Keepers found themselves fighting for their lives as the army attacked. The army charged with unbelievable ferocity, forcing the teens to dodge, duck, and dive their way through the battle. The few blows they did manage to strike didn’t even seem to phase the soldiers.
Finally, the exhausted teens were thrown onto the ground, completely at the mercy of the Green Army Men.
“They’re too strong!!” yelled Amanda.
“We need our powers!!” Willa agreed.
The army kept getting closer and closer. The Keepers pulled themselves to their feet, but they knew they wouldn’t last much longer.
Charlene was hurtled into some bushes. Maybeck was knocked against a tree. Willa suddenly found herself splashing in a small creek. Still, the army approached.
Finn threw one of soldiers into the river. He looked to his left to see Amanda being held in a choke hold by another Green Army Man.
“HANG ON, AMANDA!!” he yelled.
Finn immediately rushed over to help her, but was tripped by one of the soldiers. He tumbled head over heels down a small slope.
Knowing that the end was coming, Finn closed his eyes and braced himself for another attack from the soldier.
It never came.
Finn opened his eyes again to see what was happening. His jaw dropped at what he was seeing.
A short, hooded figure was now fighting the troop of Green Army Men! It had dark feet that looked strangely like hands, and carried a long stick that had two large coconuts tied to the top of it. The soldiers, who had been gaining the upper hand in the battle just a few moments before, now cowered in fear.
Meanwhile, Finn had made his way back to where his friends were sitting to watching the fight. The six Keepers were tired, sweaty, and were having a hard time catching their breath.
“Who…is…that?” panted Finn.
“No…idea!” answered Philby breathlessly.
At that moment, the soldiers must have realized that they were defeated. They quickly ran back to the river and disappeared in another clash of lightning.
Finn tentatively approached the figure, who stood with its back facing the Keepers, staring at the spot where the soldiers had vanished. Finn put one hand on the mysterious rescuer’s shoulder.
“Hey, thanks for helping- AGH!!”
The figure turned around at Finn’s touch and whacked him upside the head with his stick. Finn was sent flying backwards five feet and landed on the ground.
The other Keepers started to run towards their friend, but a look from the hooded figure stopped them in their tracks.
The figure made its way over to where Finn lay on the ground and placed its stick just a few inches away from Finn’s throat.
“Who are you? What business brings you to Disneyland?”
Finn, surprised that the warrior’s voice seemed very familar, could hardly speak.
“I will not ask again.”
“We were told there was a Great Power here,” Philby spoke up, “Is it true?”
“Yes. The legends tell of those who have searched for it a failed.”
“Well, we’re different,” said Finn with authority, “We won’t fail!”
The figure chuckled in his throat.
“Look,” Maybeck began, “we don’t want any trouble. Our leader, Wayne got-“
“Wayne? Did you say Wayne?” asked the figure.
“You know Wayne?”, questioned Amanda, “Who are you?”
At her question, the figure finally removed the stick from Finn’s neck and helped him to his feet. He removed his hood, revealing…
The Keepers were shocked! Standing before them was none other than the baboon from The Lion King.
“Have we met before?”
“Umm, not exactly,” said Willa, “We’re the Kingdom Keepers from Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. There’s a Rafiki at our parks as well.”
Rafiki nodded in understanding.
“I am the master warrior of Disneyland. What has happened to Wayne?”
“He was attacked by a powerful being named Hades,” Charlene explained.
“Hades is free??”
“You’ve heard of him?” asked Philby in a bewildered voice.
“Hades is a monster,” Rafiki replied, “If we don’t hurry, your parks are doomed. Follow me!”
And with that, he turned around and crossed the rope bridge that led to the other side of Tom Sawyer’s Island.
The Keepers were quick to follow him.
Chapter 7: Legend of the Stonecutter's Quill
Hades puts his evil plan into action, and Rafiki helps the Keepers find their Stonecutter elements!
All previous disclaimers apply.
Chapter 7: Legend of the Stonecutter’s Quill
A large crowd of kids ranging in age from about eight to seventeen gathered in front of the magic shop on Main Street U.S.A. Posters hung on the light poles and inside shop windows advertising for free jars of “Hades’ Ooze”. Dozens of kids were already holding samples of the sticky, blue goop; the store front was littered with several crates filled with hundreds of jars.
Some kids were stretching the ooze as they pulled them from the jars. Others were molding them in their hands. Some were even throwing the contents at one another. It was an ooze free-for-all!
Hades, who had transformed himself into a creepy looking carnival wizard, stood at the front of the crowd, a jar of his creation in each hand.
“Boys and girls, girls and boys, gather round and feast your eyes! This ain’t sludge, and this ain’t guck…this is the one and only Hades’ Ooze!! Yesireebob. It’s ooey, and gooey, and even kind of chewy. But best of all, it’s FREE!!”
Storey Ming, who was standing at the back of the crowd, took a jar of the strange goo from the case that was handed to her. She looked at it curiously, shrugged, then headed for home, taking the jar with her.
The sun had risen fully in the sky by the time Rafiki and the Keepers arrived at the fort on Tom Sawyer’s Island. The Keepers silently looked around the spacious courtyard, which wasn’t that different from its sister at Walt Disney World. As a matter of fact, the only difference they could see between the two was the fact that this one had a small fire pit directly in the center of the courtyard.
“Please gather around the fire,” Rafiki was telling the Keepers, “We must determine your elements before you can begin your journey for the Great Power.”
“Our elements?” asked Willa.
“Your Stonecutter elements,” Rafiki explained, “from the legend of the Stonecutter’s Quill.”
“Wayne told us the legend back when we first became Keepers!” exclaimed Finn, “Are you saying the two are connected?”
“We don’t have much time.”
When Mr. Ming came home from work that afternoon, he was surprised to find a small blue jar sitting on a table in the living room. Storey was spending the day at Disney World with some friends, so he assumed she had come home long enough to drop off the mysterious object.
His curiosity getting the better of him, Mr. Ming picked up the jar and read the label pasted on the side.
Mr. Ming shrugged, opened the jar, and stuck his finger inside.
Suddenly, a crackling electrical current ran over his entire body. His face went completely blank, and his eyes momentarily glowed blue. Without another word, Mr. Ming, now a mindless zombie, turned around and walked out of the house.
The streets were filled with other parents who had obviously also discovered the jars their children had brought home from the park. Together, they walked back to the Magic Kingdom, unknowingly about to begin the destruction of the planet…
The Keepers stood in a straight line on one side of the now lit fire pit. Rafiki was busy preparing some kind of concoction with a coconut from his stick and the ashes from the fire.
When he was finished, he faced the Keepers again, carrying a handful of the magic dust.
“It is said that to those who possess the Great Power, all things are possible. Hundreds of other warriors like yourselves have tried to obtain it…all have perished.”
“So how can we get to it?” asked Maybeck.
“The only way to obtain the power is to achieve the highest state of being…”
“And how do we do that?” Finn wanted to know.
“By learning the ancient art of the Stonecutter. It is the perfect union of mind, body, and spirit. Now, close your eyes, and reach deep inside yourselves. Your elements are waiting.”
The Keepers did as they were asked. No one spoke as Rafiki blew the magic powder over each of them in turn.
Clouds formed overhead…the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad seemed to roar…a strong wind blew through the treetops…the water that surrounded the Island splashed…the sun pushed its way through the clouds, making the fort even warmer than before…and there was a song floating somewhere nearby…a familiar tune that all of the Keepers knew by heart…
“When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires will come to you…”
Then, as quickly as it had happened, the sky cleared, and everything was like it had been before.
Well, almost everything…
The Keepers were now all wearing new uniforms, similar to those that a ninja might wear, in their respective colors. Only their eyes showed under their hoods.
One by one, the Keepers opened their eyes and removed their hoods and face masks. Each of them had a gold emblem embossed on the front of their uniforms: Maybeck’s emblem showed a mountain…Amanda’s, a cyclone of wind…Willa’s, a sun…for Charlene, a fluffy cloud…for Philby, an ocean wave…and finally, for Finn, a star.
Rafiki smiled and approached Maybeck, who stood at the end of the line.
“Maybeck,” the wise baboon said, “you are the Mountain…strong and powerful.”
Maybeck grinned, and Rafiki moved on to Amanda.
“Amanda, you are the Wind…mighty like a storm!”
Willa was next.
“Willa, you are the Sun…the brightest star in the sky!”
The baboon continued on to Charlene, who wasn’t looking very happy at the moment.
“Charlene…Charlene, what’s wrong?”
“I’m a cloud,” Charlie pouted.
“Yes, a Cloud! Like the one with a silver lining!!” said the monkey, giving Charlene a kiss on the forehead.
This seemed to cheer Charlene up a little. Rafiki continued down the line until he reached Philby.
“Philby, you are Water…calm and cunning.”
Finally, it was Finn’s turn.
“I’m a star?”
“Finn,” said Rafiki, “you are so much more than that! You are Magic…a true beacon of hope and leadership!”
Rafiki turned away from the Keepers then and began walking up the stairs to one of the watch posts.
“You will need the power of all of your elements to reach the Great Power.”
The Keepers walked up to him, confused at his statement.
“You’re not coming with us, Rafiki?” asked Maybeck.
Rafiki looked back at them sadly.
“This is your destiny,” he answered, “not mine. Only you can find the Great Power. Believe in yourselves! The elements of the Stonecutter’s Quill will be your guide. Trust them!!”
At his words, a storm cloud appeared behind him and completely surrounded the baboon. Within a matter of seconds, Rafiki and the cloud had vanished.
As the Keepers stared in shock at his disappearance, they heard a voice on the wind.
“Good luck, Keepers!”
Chapter 8: The Search Begins
The Keepers begin their quest in Disneyland looking for the mysterious Great Power. Meanwhile, Storey Ming begins her own quest for answers...
Chapter 8: The Search Begins
When Storey arrived home from the parks that evening, she knew something was off.
The house was unusually dark inside. Storey knew that her father had come home, because his truck was parked in the driveway out front. His car keys were lying on the kitchen counter.
“Dad? I’m home!”
That’s strange. It’s his turn to make dinner tonight.
“Dad? Are you here?”
He wasn’t in the den.
He wasn’t in the master bedroom.
He wasn’t lounging in his favorite chair by the pool.
Mr. Ming was nowhere to be found!
She took her cellphone out of her purse. Not a single missed text or call from her dad.
Two attempted phone calls later, and Storey started getting worried.
Where was her father?
Back at Escher’s Keep, Jess was busy trying to fix the viewing globe in hopes of establishing some contact with the outside world.
“The list of missing parents reports continues to grow…”
“The mayor of Orlando has established a 9 p.m. curfew for all persons under the age of 18, and advises that no one leave their homes after this time. Lock your doors and windows…”
“’Where’s my mommy and daddy?’, young children cry…”
“One thought on everyone’s mind is: where are the Kingdom Keepers?”
“Oh for the love of Walt!!,” Jess exclaimed, “the entire city is going down the drain!”
She went back to fussing over Wayne, who now looked as if he had aged about ten years in the last hour alone.
“Jess…I am deeply concerned about the Keepers…We must try to communicate with them”
Jess looked out over the decimated headquarters.
“Perhaps if I could locate a vertical-deflector, I could assemble a holographic-comlink.”
Wayne shuddered in pain, and closed his eyes. Jess watched over her mentor and shook her head in anguish.
“Oh for the love of Walt!!”
It didn’t take long for Storey to decide to go looking for her father when he still hadn’t shown up the next morning. She wasn’t surprised to learn that other parents had gone missing as well, but no one else seemed to be upset about it.
As she entered the main gates of the Magic Kingdom, a sense of foreboding came over her.
Main Street U.S.A. was swarming with children and teenagers! On a normal day, Storey wouldn’t have thought twice about seeing them running around the park.
But, their parents were nowhere to be seen.
Her mind made up, Storey continued down the street at a faster pace, ignoring the shouts of the youths around her.
As she walked through the opening of Cinderella’s Castle, the strange sensation she felt grew stronger.
Suddenly, she paused and ducked back inside the castle walkway. As she stood listening to the rapid thumping that was her own heartbeat, she slowly peeked around the stone façade of the castle.
A small band of Overtakers was making its way through the queue line of the Seven Dwarves Mine Train. Chernabog and Gaston were among them, bringing up the rear. Chernabog took a moment to make sure they weren’t being followed, making Storey shrink even further back into the shadows of the castle, before he finally turned around and disappeared into the attraction.
Storey waited for an additional ten minutes to make sure Chernabog didn’t come back with reinforcements. Then, she quickly and quietly made her way to the construction site to finally see what was going on.
Where are the Kingdom Keepers?
The sun had just started peeking out over the horizon when the Keepers woke up the next morning. Disneyland’s version of Tom Sawyer’s Island was closed for the season just like it’s sister in Orlando.
The Keepers knew that they didn’t have much time. Disneyland would be opening to the public in just a few short hours; they needed to find the Great Power and return home before the guests entered the Park.
Finn stood at the lookout post of the fort on the island, surveying the Frontierland side of the Park. The rest of the Keepers gathered around him. The Rivers of America glistened in the fading starlight.
“It’s time,” Finn announced.
He silently led the way out of the fort and towards the awaiting canoe.
Five minutes later, the Keepers were rowing to the opposite shoreline towards the Indian village.