Welcome to the home of  the Stalwart Age RPG . Visit the links above to get started. 

Sunday, October 31, 2021

The Mighty Doc Stalwart #259

A Dark and Stormy Night

Adapted from The Mighty Doc Stalwart #259 (October 1984)

By Dr. Mike Desing

The Beetle shook. Despite the advanced gyroscoping technology and an array of sixteen independent pulse engines, the storm tested the small craft’s resilience. Doc kept his hand on the controls. The ship did most of the work, but Doc had to fight as well to keep her steady.

“Are we close?” Mikah was a bit disappointed. This was his first trip to Meridian, but between it being 2 in the morning and in the midst of a raging thunderstorm, he was unlikely to see much.

Lightning illuminated the southern horizon, providing both an answer and a jolt of excitement.

For an instant, Mikah could make out the vast horizon of this, the greatest of all cities. It stretched the full width of his peripheral vision. That was a lot of city. 70 million people. Mikah couldn’t wrap his head around a number that big. What context is there? 

“Very close.” Doc was tense. This had been his home for almost twenty years, Mikah remembered, but Doc had never actually spoken of it to him.

“You excited to be back?”

“Conflicted,” Doc admitted, “especially because of why we’re here… you probably realize this is not an official mission…”

Mikah nodded. The foreboding tone of the Emerald Queen had clued him in. They were on a darker path now.

“We’re going to start making right on a few promises. I’ve got some unfinished business. I’m glad you’re along. And....” Doc hesitated.


“I’m not going to lie to you. It’s going to be rough.”


The Beetle had set down in the middle of a parking lot next to a huge, gothic church. If it was possible, the rain was now falling harder. “This is St. Augustus. Been here for 200 years. It’s an important place.”

The team stood in the rain at the side door for several minutes, with Doc loudly pounding on the door. Now that Mikah knew Zirah was a ghost, he realized that the raindrops were falling right through her. Jynx kept swatting at the rain, as if annoyed. Mikah just felt soaked. Doc seemed to contemplate breaking in, but Mikah could sense his discomfort with storming into a place of worship.

Finally, a young boy in white vestments, probably half Mikah’s age, opened the door. He had a squeaky voice. He looked exhausted. “You must be Doc Stalwart. Father Warren has been hoping you’d arrive soon. He’s already started the ritual.”

They crossed through two heavy doorways and down several sets of stairs; with each descent, the dark grew more dark, the cold grew more cold, and the staleness grew more stale.

As they moved over what would be the final set of stairs, they could hear chanting rising from below. As they approached, Mikah realized it was one man’s voice. And it was in Latin.

Their downward descent ended in a chamber set at the lowest point of the labyrinth beneath the church. This was a large room, entirely finished in stone, with ceremonial religious relics placed all about. In the middle of the room, a middle-aged, grim-faced man wearing vestments like those of the boy was on one knee, holding a crucifix aloft and repeating phrases in Latin. 

Pinned to the opposite wall was a creature that looked like a living shadow. It was a demon of some sort. Of that, there was no doubt. It made sounds like Jynx, but instead of threats to eat your face, this thing was capable of cruelty beyond Mikah’s imaginings.

“Ted, we’re here.” Doc called, and the priest collapsed, his utter fatigue finally overwhelming him. The shadow peeled itself from the wall, no longer bound by the man’s chants. It spoke. In English.

“I know why you’ve come, Nathaniel Stalwart. But I will not be bound again.”

The team positioned themselves around the room. Doc took his place at the center; Zirah flanked the shadow on its right, with Jynx on its left. Mikah and the young acolyte were tending to the priest, who burned with fever.

Jynx’s head did a funny thing, cocking slightly to one side. He barked something, and the demon barked back at him.

Oh great. He was making a new friend.

As Doc searched for an opening to strike, Jynx started to bark at him in panicked tones. This was different from any sound Mikah had ever heard him make.

The demon loosed a burst of black energy from its hand, and this threw Jynx against the far wall. The imp crumpled to the floor. 

Zirah, swords drawn, stepped forward as if to confront the demon. It eyed her and hesitated. It wasn’t afraid of much, but it was afraid of her.

She assumed a battle stance, flexed her swords out, and held. She was thinking of something. Mikah thought she took a brief glance back at him. Was that a smile?

Then she dropped her swords.

As they clattered to the floor, Zirah leapt forward, disappearing against the chest of the demon.

This forced it back against the wall again, and it started to writhe.  

It clawed at its own chest, seemingly trying to drag Zirah out. Its eyes flashed red. Then yellow. Then red again. Then, suddenly, purple.

It stopped writhing.

The priest started chanting again. It was barely a whisper, and it took every mote of energy he could summon, but it was clear and strong regardless. The boy - he was no more than seven years old, Mikah thought - took up the chant.   

Now Jynx gathered himself and moved to the middle of the room. He stood and looked… relaxed? It was a new thing. He tilted his head up and stretched his arms to the side. Mikah had the phrase “I’m king of the world!” pop into his head.

And then, a bright darkness enveloped the room. Mikah would later try to describe it, and would also have to create a folder for this event, and he struggled for a long time with the description. He finally settled on bright darkness. It was a darkness in the truest sense, but it was so bright that he couldn’t watch it directly, but had to allow his peripheral vision to catch glimpses of the transformation he was witnessing. When all was finished, maybe a minute later, the shadow creature was only gone, and only Jynx remained.

But he was the same size as Doc Stalwart now.

Doc stood at a distance. He dropped his fists to his side. “Hello, Monument. It is good to see you again.”

The 7-foot-tall Jynx nodded, “Hello, Doc Stalwart. I am… different from when last we met.”

The priest, gathering himself to one knee, produced a crystal from his pocket, looking at Monument through it. “The binding is successful.”

Mikah wanted to find a gentle way to politely ask what was happening. Instead, he settled on, “what the Hell is that?!”

Father Warren seemed unbothered by his curse word, likely because Hell was literally where it had come from. “The demon is named Galanax. It is an eldritch entity of great power. The three others have made a triangular prison for it. Jynx is the body; he provides its physical form. Zirah is the spirit. She provides the binding agent to keep them all together. And Edward, my dear nephew Edward, he provides its soul. He is its moral compass.”  

Mikah tried to take all of this in. That had become something of his default setting - he was in a constant state of just barely keeping up with overwhelming circumstances. “Who am I speaking to now?”

Monument considered this question, “All of us.”

The priest was now standing, propped up by Doc Stalwart, “I was the last host of this thing. With Jynx. We had an… imperfect prison. We realized that there was a component missing. Doc retrieved her for us.”

Mikah felt anger simmering, “wait. You forced Zirah to do that?”

Doc shook his head, “no. It was her decision. She was suffering an eternity of torment for the choices in her mortal life. I found a way to help her trade that fate for this one. She gladly accepted.”

Mikah replied, “But the swords allowed her to live here.”

“Temporarily,” the priest picked up, “they were never a permanent solution. She was always in danger of being dragged back into the pit. Any separation from them put her in deep peril. She always dwelt at the precipice of eternal suffering. She finally has some measure of peace.”

Mikah remembered how he had asked her to set down her swords to find Doc’s brother. How she had not hesitated. He knew the pain and danger she faced was real. He had not realized just how real.

Doc had found a piece of cloth, and was using it to carefully pick up the swords, wrapping them securely. He didn’t look up, “is the boy…”

“Safe.” Monument continued, “I understand that this is a terrible burden to ask of such a young boy. He was chosen, and he answered the call put upon his life. That is the most noble thing that can be asked of anyone.”

Here he looked at Mikah. He held the gaze uncomfortably long.

“Doc Stalwart,” Monument continued, “I also understand your journey must continue. I can carry you to the borders of that land, but no further. Are you ready?”

“I am,” Doc answered. He looked towards Mikah, “You can stay here. The priest will take care of you. I will be back shortly.”

Mikah shook his head, “No. I know where you’re going. I am going, too. I have to. No. I don’t have to. But, I want to.”

Doc considered for a moment, and then nodded. He looked to Monument, “Answering the call, then. Understood. We’re ready.”


Ted Warren, Father of Saint Augustus’ Church of Meridian, was alone for the first time in thirty years. He was going to make some tea, take a shower, and sleep.

But first, he dropped to his knees. He folded his hands, furrowed his brow, and bowed his head. Doc Stalwart was going to need every bit of help he could get.



  1. Holy Moly! Zirah and Jinx (and the boy...is he named?) ARE Monument? Dang, dude!

    1. Yup. He's kind of like Firestorm as a sythesis. I knew when I introduced them that they'd eventually be part of bringing Monument into the fold, but I decided recently to go all-in on the merging of forces. It makes sense to me, and makes him a different character.

    2. And the boy is named Edward Warren, nephew to Ted Warren (who was part of Monument II)... this character is technically Monument III. The Monument II in the character database is the older one who is no longer in circulation.

    3. Monument III....nice! I like the legacy aspect, and how this version is different than their predecessor! You have a really rich history baked into this universe, Mike!