The Taming of The Sly Fox




The Truth Behind Sylvester Trotter
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The Taming of The Sly Fox

A few know of The Sly Fox, a self-assumed ladies man and general "con-artist" of a hero. However, most of what is known is due only to Sly's recent exploits. If you haven't already heard about the Ne'er-do-well, the following articles can be accessed here:

What Villains Are Saying About The Sly Fox

What HEROES Are Saying About The Sly Fox

While a person's actions generally "make the man," it is so often the case that the man in question's past is overlooked. The next few installments in our case study will delve to discover the mystery behind this masked magician, and find out what circumstances lead to a boy once known as Sylvester Trotter becoming The Sly Fox...

Chapter 1: The Lost Kit

Sylvester Frank Trotter was born on March 5, 1979. Discovered on the doorstep of St. Uther's Church in Chicago, he only brought with him a note containing his name, birth date, and the following words:

"Out to Lunch. Watch the kid. Thanks a bunch!"

The kind-hearted sisters, never once pondering the odd message, took in the poor orphan and raised him on the morals and customs of their faith. The lad went to Sunday school every... well... Sunday. Beloved by the entire parish, especially the sisters, little Trotter was doted upon and allowed much leeway because of his inherent charm. As he grew up and entered regular schooling taught by the priests and nuns, they began to lecture him on the ways and practices of a good, God-fearing citizen.

Fortunately, they could never have happened upon a more astute child. Unfortunately, young Sylvester proved to be a bit TOO astute. By this, we mean being so astute he not only learned where the church wine was kept, he also learned many of the local patrons enjoyed a quick nip of "God's Blessing" before sitting through the often boring services. Even at this early age Sylvester had seemed to recognize the hypocrisies inherit in every man, regardless of his station in life... and with that recognition came the other discovery that a quick wit could profit on said hypocrisies...

His secret "pub" in the basement (with a cardboard sign proclaiming Slyvestrs' Speek Easie) was soon discovered by an enraged Father Clancy, who immediately had the boy disciplined for this "heinous act in the eyes of God." However, the mark had been set, and from then on even the many members of the parish he had managed to charm would refer to him as "our little 'Sly..."

Over the rest of his stay at St. Uthers, Sylvester constantly became the bane of Father Clancy's existance. When, at the age of 15, he and an fairly older novitiate become the subject of a bit of controversy, Father Clancy decided he had had enough. Against the protestations of many of the clergy (and even more from nearly all the sisters), the Priest told Sylvester Trotter to leave the church, and only return when he had, quote "Abandoned his debauchery and sinful ways..."

Feeling abandoned once again (this time not by his unknown parents but by the only people he had learned to call his family) Sylvester Frank Trotter set out for fame and fortune... hoping one day to return to the church and show Father Clancy that he was not the failure he had been branded.

Thus ends the first installment of our "tail" on the origin of The Sly Fox. Stay tuned to our publication for more on this Precocious future Protector of Paragon...



Chapter 2: A Fox in the Kennel

The 15-year-old Sylvester made his way across the great U.S. of A, armed only with a few dollars and his blossoming wits. This did not deter the young whelp, however, for he found ways of earning a roof over his head and food in his belly that soon became his trademark. Although uncommon for a youth who had the background of a strict religious upbringing, Trotter used many tricks to achieve his desired effects. He was often the lost orphan, abused by his wicked step-father after his ailing mother had died. This garnished him sympathies with any family who decided to take him in, "for a spell," and give him a home-cooked meal and a warm bed to sleep in. A far more successful role, however, was the simple boy who had been unwittingly left behind by his family while on vacation. This family was extremely varied from city to city but quite often it consisted of...

an absent minded father: Clancy Trotter
doting but flighty mother: Mary Trotter
five brothers: Mick, Josh, Bobby, John-boy & Eugene
6 sisters: Susan, Sheila, Kathy, Lucia, Rebecca & Bambie
and beloved family mutt 'Scraps'

From the level of detail Sylvester appeared to work into his small-time cons, it is easy to see why the boy was successful wherever he chose to hold up for awhile. However, he never stayed long in one spot, and ran at any hint of someone calling the authorities to pick up the runaway/orphan/abandoned youth and "put him in a shelter."

Sylvester also more than once had to cut his stay short because of the messy entanglements he couldn't seem to help getting into with most "Farmer's Daughters..."

He would often even make off with a quick buck from the gullible adults he encountered. Strangly, though, he would only pick these targets out of the people who he observed to be dishonest and corrupt, or if they generally thought themselves better than the average individual in some way. The thrill he experienced being chased out of one town carrying the local mayor's illegal gambling profits left him for a taste for such adventures. From that point on he enjoyed risking his neck to bring minor annoyances to any "fat-cat" who thought they were above the common law.

He never actually STOLE anything from the kind-hearted however... All he seemed to want was trust, nourishment, and perhaps the brief feeling he was not so horrible as to be unwanted. But... he was also an extremely lonely boy, and although he thought himself the accomplished scam artist, he soon found that he was just as ripe a mark for someone more devious and, sadly, ruthless than himself.

In 1995, when he had reached his 16th year, Sylvester Trotter found his way to the fabled Paragon City. It was a time when everyone seemed to be looking for a way to make a profit, regardless of the subject. Hero Corps, an organization that moved to capitalize on what had previously been shown as a volunteer profession, was sweeping the world. Even though it had not yet been established in "The City of Heroes," most newspapers declared the event only a matter of time. With the news of Hero Corps, Sylvester saw that even the heroes ("saints" he had been taught who defended the world for no reason other than to make things right) were people with desires and needs just like any normal man.

This was probably Trotter's final disenchantment, for he had always loved the tales he had heard in church of the Statesman and Ms. Liberty and their "angelic-like" benevolence towards man. He knew now that even his heroes could be like a common body guard who offered his services to the highest bidder. This disillusionment pushed the young adult into an even more jaded outlook on society. When he also soon found it harder to live on small-time cons in the city with "supernatural powered detectives" on hand, he even began to resent his once glorified image of the "defenders of justice."

All this resentment and general depression (not to mention growing poverty) was the perfect state for one Simon "The Wrangler" McPheely to find Sylvester Trotter in. This "Fagan-esque" leader of young grubby crooks and pickpockets was infamous in the city as a reason to "hold on to your valuables." McPheely's many tendrils throughout Paragon caught wind of Sylvester and his attempts as a confidence "boy." Finally one night after a particular mark had turned suspicious and called a local psychic hero to see if Sylvester was telling the truth, Simon sent a lackey to "bring the lad in." What follows is a reenactment of the events based on many eye-witness testimonies. Some liberties have been taken in the interest of story-telling:

Sylvester Trotter followed the young 12-year-old known as "Pug" into what looked to be an abandoned dog pound. When first approached by the kid, he was at first naturally doubtful, but when the kid produced a fiver just to get him to come, and MORE promised if he listen to "Master Wrangler's" proposition, the hungry Sylvester could do nothing but follow.

Boys of various ages were lounging about giving him a challenging look. Sylvester took it in stride, glaring back at them trying to stress his own courage regardless of the uneasiness he felt. One boy, sizably larger and obviously older than himself, stuck an arm out between Pug and Sylvester, knocking him back.

"What's 'da Pug brought us this time, kiddos? A skinny mutt to play with? What's 'da name, mutt?" the bully shot out at him.

"Sylvester... but my friends call me Sly. You can call me 'Mr. Higher IQ.' But my guess is you could call a rock that. (It should be noted here that Sylvester, while possessing extreme craftiness and a highly developed intelligence, was not often "wise.")

The bully's eyes narrowed, "Dat sounds like sum kinda' in-salt 'ta me. I don like in-salts! I beat the in-salts outta mutts like you!" Sylvester could almost hear the misspelling in the lout's unformed sentences.

Trotter rolled his eyes in the face of 185 lbs of pissed off young neanderthal. "Considering I'll offer the insults freely, 'Professor,' I hardly see the sense in using force," he sighed. "However, since it's the only form of expression your budding species of whatever-the-hell-you-are is likely to understand, I suppose I must accept it and prepare for your actions."

"Now Bull-Dog, don't get excited, I'm ta bring this here guy to The Master,"
piped Pug from the brute's side.

"Shut ja yapper, Puggy! I tink dis mutt jus in-salt-ed me again!"

"Oh yes, 'Bull-Dog,' how fitting!"
continued Sylvester "Death Wish" Trotter, "I 'in-salted' you all right. If you're not careful I might pepper you with slander next!"

roared Bull-Dog and swung his meaty fist around to land one on the newcomer.

However Sly immediately dodged the blow, sending the goon stumbling forward. Then he quickly darted in, tapped him on the shoulder, skipped back when the lug swung at him again, and quipped, "That's it I'm complaining to your owner," He glanced around. "Who lets you bumble around without a muzzle? You can't even--oooofff!"

Sly had been having too much fun watching the other boys laugh at their comrades befuddlement, and allowed Bull-Dog to barrel into him, knocking him to the ground.

The over-sized teen's rotting breath engulfed the quick-tongued Trotter, "What do ya' gotta say befur I squeeze da life outta 'ya, mutt?" He chuckled deep in his throat.

"...Nnn... Nuts," was all Sly could seem to manage with the weight on top of him.

"Harr Harr! Dat's right, nuts ta' you you, you-OOOOOPPP! AgggggHHH!"

Bull-Dog's gloating had been cut off by a sharp knee to the unmentionable "nuts." (At least, everyone but Bull-Dog and his 'friends' would refer to them as 'unmentionables.') As the incapacitated bully rolled over, Sly got to his feet and breathed, "Sorry... phew... but I did... give you a warning..."

Bull-Dog, tears streaming down his massive face, slowly stood up despite the pain. "You ar sho DEAD MUTT!"

"That's ENOUGH"
A booming voice echoed from behind Sylvester. He slowly turned around, and saw a tall, impressively fat man chewing what was hopefully a cigar from before Sly was born. His stubble looked like the kind used to light old wooden matches, and his beady eyes held more contempt for the group he was addressing than any Bull-Dog could ever muster up for 20 "mutts." Tied to his waste was a large rawhide whip, and he rested one expansive hand on the end. The other swept up to remove the slobber soaked cylindrical slab from his mouth.

"Heel, Bull-Dog, HEEL!" The giant barked. The room was suddenly very quiet, and by the smell Sylvester could swear Bull-Dog had just wet himself. Of course, it IS hard to tell in here.... he thought...

"Not two minutes in my yard and already you're causin' me trouble Trotter. I'm beginning to regret asking Pug here to fetch you. You don't want me to express regret..." The man known as The Wrangler spat to his side after this last statement.

A slight silence passed, then the predictable Sly retorted, "An expansive man such as yourself must have a fund of other character traits to express. Why not choose one of them instead? Might I suggest 'courtesy?' Didn't your mother ever teach you not to spit?"

The shocked silence from "the pack" was audible, and The Wrangler merely stared at the young Sylvester for what seemed like enough time to contemplate the world ending in one yell of "Sick 'em!." Then he suddenly burst out in rumbling barks of laughter!

"Well... look at the mouth on this one! Ok, I like ya kid. Names McPheely, Simon McPheely," to his stunned lackeys he put out a sweaty palm. Sylvester tentatively reached forward to grasp it, and McPheely suddenly yanked him close, bending down an inch from his face. "But my hounds call me MASTER. YOU'LL call me master. And so help me if I ever hear you yapping at me like you did just now I'll flay you alive."

For the first time in his life, Sly was actually afraid...

Then The Wrangler was all smiles again, and released the young upstart and looked down on him. "Well yar part of the pack now. And I suppose ya gotta have a... heh... "nom duh plum," so ta speak... yar quick Trotter... and seems like ya got some brains too. How bought "Retriever? Good as any!"

Once again Sylvester surprised himself by saying, "Actually, umm, 'Master Wrangler,' I don't want to have the name of any common dog."

The pack couldn't believe their luck, they were about to see this brat flayed alive... but... The Wrangler didn't look angry, even though it was always hard to tell with him. He just looked at the kid for a long while, put his "long-gone cigar" back between his flabby lips, and said. "Ok... ya wanna be an outcast? Ya wanna be different? What do these hounds hunt? I saw you trottin' around Bull-Dog, Trotter. Ok, that settles it. Yar Foxtrot!"

The boys waited one last hushed breath to see what the boy calling himself Sly would do... then....

"I can live with that." He nodded.

"You better, kit, you better." The Wrangler growled down at him. "Ok you mangy curs! Time to teach Foxtrot how we do business! Who's got the dummy!?" With a surprising quick motion the fat man released his whip and cracked it loud in the air! "MUSH! MUSH! MUSH!"


...So began the darkest period of The Sly Fox's life...

This is the conclusion of part 2 of our "tail." Keep scanning the type for the upcoming Chapter 3: The Sorcerer's Jewels, where The Sly Fox actually meets the love of his life! Until next time!



OCC: Ok great... now I'm stuck between wanting to play every free moment... and finishing Sly's story... what to do, what to do...



OOC: I love Fox's story so far, if anything for the humor and nature of the character. I've seen so many heroes have either the Noble Good-guy mentality, or the Dark Cynic one. Fox is delightfully neither. I'm looking forward to seeing how he gets away from The Wrangler and becomes a hero!

"The proper office of a friend is to side with you when you are in the wrong. Nearly anybody will side with you when you are in the right."
- Mark Twain, Notebook, 1898
- Bart Allen, aka Impulse/Kid Flash/The Flash, Teen Titans v.3, #6



OOC: I love Fox's story so far, if anything for the humor and nature of the character. I've seen so many heroes have either the Noble Good-guy mentality, or the Dark Cynic one. Fox is delightfully neither. I'm looking forward to seeing how he gets away from The Wrangler and becomes a hero!

[/ QUOTE ]

OCC: Thanks Mackie! It's nice to finally get some feedback. I was begining to wonder if my story wasn't original enough!

I have to say that the crowning moment of this game for me was stubbling upon a character that I LOVED. Loved being, loved playing, and loved creating. I'm a thespian IRL, and the thrill of roleplaying is more near and dear to me than anything else about this game.

I think I'll play for a little bit tonight, and then attempt to write the next chaper tomorrow. Hope to see you in Paragon!



OCC: Thanks Mackie! It's nice to finally get some feedback. I was begining to wonder if my story wasn't original enough!

I have to say that the crowning moment of this game for me was stubbling upon a character that I LOVED. Loved being, loved playing, and loved creating. I'm a thespian IRL, and the thrill of roleplaying is more near and dear to me than anything else about this game.

I think I'll play for a little bit tonight, and then attempt to write the next chaper tomorrow. Hope to see you in Paragon!

[/ QUOTE ]

OOC: So not the case! I think the playerbase is too shy to really critique anything, and honestly I can't see anything wrong with what you've written so far. I'm actually a bit jealous, as my char's origin is nowhere near as detailed and precise.

Fox makes me think of the Cary Elwes Robin Hood; brave, witty and just a bit brash. He's got that chutzpah that likely will see him through a lot of close scrapes. Besides that, the "What Villains Think..." is hilarious. By far my favorite is Baby Genius's comment.

Trounce a thug for me! My retail hasn't come in yet. *sigh*

"The proper office of a friend is to side with you when you are in the wrong. Nearly anybody will side with you when you are in the right."
- Mark Twain, Notebook, 1898
- Bart Allen, aka Impulse/Kid Flash/The Flash, Teen Titans v.3, #6



OCC: Still hasn't come it yet? Whoa... I feel for you. Anyway, thanks again and I hope you look me up in Paragon once it's does!!

P.S. Actually it's funny you say that... because Baby Genius and Nubile Nanny were in my head to appear in Chapter 4 or 5... we shall see!



Chapter 3a: The Sorcerer’s Jewels

Sylvester Trotter lived as Foxtrot of “the pack” for seven long years. Throughout that time, he constantly was reminded of his mistake to join the gang of delinquents. Foxtrot was never truly part of the group. His own nickname enforced this fact. The Wrangler’s lackeys took any chance they got to beat up on the young orphan, Bull-Dog always in the lead as the chief instigator. McPheely himself even seemed to encourage it, as Foxtrot showed him nothing but insubordination.

His only saving grace, and the reason perhaps McPheely did not allow the pack to tear him apart, was that he was the largest earner of the motley group. He earned The Wrangler more spoils than any of his “pups” before him. He was quick, clever, and always seemed to pick just the right mark. He soon became so good as a cut-purse, McPheely moved him onto cons before his first year with them was up, something that had never been heard of in their circle before.

With all this “success” in the business, Foxtrot was still able to keep some of his values intact. With much effort and personal risk, he constantly went against The Wrangler’s orders in choosing his targets. He would go after only those that he felt either deserved losing something, or who would obviously not miss a loss. Everyone from street thugs to corrupt politicians were not safe once in Foxtrot’s crosshairs, and McPheely found that while this tactic seemed too “vigilante” for him, he had to admit that the marks gave up much sooner in pursuing their lost valuables, and seldom called the authorities.

Despite these facts, The Wrangler made sure this obvious challenge to his authority did not go unpunished. Foxtrot constantly felt the sting of rawhide on his back, for anything from a smart-aleck comment to an order to pinch someone’s wallet disobeyed. He received many scars from The Wrangler, and sometimes he would silently weep as the fire on his back kept him awake. The other “curs” would also take any opportunity to make his torment that much more difficult, from taunts to outright beatings.

Foxtrot only had one single ally among them. This was the shrimp “Pug,” who looked on Foxtrot’s defiance with awe and admiration. Foxtrot also knew deep in his heart that Pug enjoyed the fact he was no longer the brunt of redicule and abuse, and was relieved Foxtrot had taken his place. However, the young Fox accepted Pug’s small kindness, regardless of the cause. For he knew more than anyone the value of a few cents when the alternative was an empty pocket.

One last important thing to note of this time in The Sly Fox’s life was that he was not some slave "whipping boy" sadly resigned to his fate. During his first month with the gang, Foxtrot attempted to escape. However, he was betrayed before his attempt by Pug… and received his first lesson from The Wrangler’s lashing. Fox understood the betrayal, and figured The Wrangler probably knew anyhow before Pug was forced to talk. The young runt had had to talk and Fox had put him in danger as it was by confiding in him about his first plan. However, it still shocked Pug when he forgave him, but it cemented their budding friendship all the more. His plots to run never abated, though, and the pack almost enjoyed to find out what he would do to break free next. Foxtrot, however, had severely underestimated who he had brought into his life with Simon McPheely, and vowed never to make such a grievious error again… if he even got the chance.

When Foxtrot was first “promoted” to the position of confidence worker, an event of great import occurred that would foreshadow his future as the hero he is today. Many liberties are sadly taken with the following tale, as most witnesses were either unavailable for comment, or would not talk to us. The Sly Fox himself, of course, remains tight lipped on what follows…

Sly had been with “the pack” for about 8 months. Now 17, he had tried his best to remain the person he thought he always was, but he couldn’t shake the fact that boy was no more… The dashing youth who had foiled the corrupt rich time and again seemed long gone. In his place was the whipped "minoin" of an evil tyrant who barely got away with his own thoughts. Even worse, Sly felt unable to change his situation. Two failed escape attempts had already proved unfruitful. Sly could still feel the marks of his last attempt making his back throb. The damned Wrangler seemed to be able to smell his very intentions. Life seemed hopeless to ever change.

Finally though, “Foxtrot” was being given the chance to have more control over his servitude. He was no longer a lanky, dirty pickpocket scrounging valuables from pedestrians in the streets. On his first con mission now, he hope to prove to McPheely that perhaps he could rake in larger scores. This could only help him become a better asset to the “Alpha Adult,” and that could lead to new possibilities for more trust and perhaps a greater chance at freedom.

Foxtrot could still hear The Wrangler’s briefing now…

“Ok, little fox The Wrangler had almost spat. “Dis malarkey is wealthy, but not all that much is known about ‘im. He just moved to ar fair city, from god knows what mansion, and he’s already mixed in with the more… heh… affluent circles that I tend to keep me eyes on.”

“Didn’t know your mother taught you such big words…”
Foxtrot had quipped, always ready to add insult to his injury.

“Shut ya’ yapper, kit McPheely had barked, using the name he often picked when he wanted to jab at Foxtrot’s insolence mentally. “Dis mark is ripe for the pickin’, but I’d still consider ‘im an unknown danger. So... I figures he’s the perfect assignment for the one member of me pack who I don’t care to lose. Ya fallah?” The obese trainer chuckled cruelly.

“Now he’s got a townhouse in the Atlas district. I got you a position as some kinda’ book runner assistant he advertised fer. Ya see, he seems ta be interested in arcane arts, and has known to have certain dealins with da more… ‘unsavory’ elements of society. Another point in yer favor, Foxtrot. Ya do seem to not wanna go after da 'goody-goods,' eh?" The Wrangler’s disdain was apparent… “I suppose I’ll contin-ya ta let dat slide fer now and use it…” He said, hinting this trait of Foxtrot’s was temporary...

“Now get ya hide over dere and see what youse can find out about weaknesses, security, and what he’s hiding up dere dat we could ‘take off his hands…’ If you get jer chance to win his confidence, USE it. ‘Member, he asked for a quick boy who doesn’t ask questions and can’t read, so fer now you ‘can’t! Heh… and don’t ferget… yar always bein’ watched… WELL!?? What ya’ waitin’ fer!!?? MUSH!”

After getting the order from the dingy bookstore, Foxtrot was now waiting on the steps of the old building. It seemed he had rung the bell hours ago, when slowly the door opened and a drabbed faced, skeleton of a man looked down at him.

The servant’s lip curled in apparent disgust. “Yeesss?” he drawled.

Foxtrot had already adapted to his role. Stooping his shoulders and not looking the man directly in the eye, she mumbled, “M’ names Tom, sir. Got Master Mordafallo’s books, like he asked fer.”

“Yesss… the mahster shall want to pay you himself. This way… please…”
The British butler beckoned dismissively, and “Tom” entered the old townhouse. The door slammed behind him, and the sudden dim light unnerved even the experienced Foxtrot.

“Kindly follow me. And do not touch anything…”

Fox followed the butler through a long hall, past quite a few doors, all shut tight. Each window had the curtains drawn as well, and while the obvious wealth of the place was apparent, it had quite the unpleasant musty odor. To Foxtrot’s surprise, he was led past a grand stairway leading up to a door under the banister. The servant removed a key from his vest and unlocked the heavy oak doorway, opened it, and once again beckoned before him with a dismissive air.

”Down the stairs, knock on the third door to the left, wait for three seconds, open the door, place the books on the desk inside the study, and kindly await the mahster to enter the room… please…” the oh-so-jubilant Jeeves recited.

“But-”Fox began.

The butler cut him off with an icy stare.“The mahster asked for quick, do not keep him waiting…”

Feeling like he had best keep the man happy, Foxtrot entered gloom of the descending stairway. No sooner had his foot landed on the first step, the door slammed behind him and the lock clicked, plunging him in eerie torchlight from hangings along the wall.

What the hell is this, Foxtrot tried to joke with himself, Dracula? Oh well, nowhere to go but forward… err... and down...

The lad’s footsteps echoed on the stone stairs, and he seemed to pass at least a minute traveling downward… finally he arrived at another gloomy hallway… however, before he could get to the third door, he seemed to hear muffled crying coming from the 1st door on his right… hoping to gather a bit more information than he was likely to get by strictly following “Lurch’s” rules… Foxtrot glanced around him, and quickly slipped into the room beyond, closing the door behind him.

The crying abruptly stopped, and as Fox turned he was dumbstruck by the most beautiful creature he had ever seen in his life. Small with bright red hair, she looked at him through brilliant (although red and teary) light blue eyes with a look of shock. Her extremely pale skin and delicate features gave her an angelic quality. She was wearing a drab black dress of an almost old Victorian style, and for some reason a golden collar around her neck… and on her chest seemed to be some sort of red tattoo. An odd twitching behind her proved upon further examination to be a… tail?

Who and what is this?? Fox’s mind shouted, And how do I get her number?

Although surprised the young girl’s fragile appearance soon turned to a fiery indignation. ”Who are you and what are doing here?? she shot at him in a fierce whisper. Doesn’t he take enough from me without sending in his servant boys to gawk and stare? Get out!”

was all Foxtrot could uncharacteristically utter.

“He siphons my blood to make his ‘precious jewels.’ Now he must take my dignity as well!! Get out She almost screamed the last at him, and, fearing discovery, Fox quickly retreated from the sorrowful glare filled now with hate.

Foxtrot quietly closed the door and stopped, leaning his forehead against the solid oak. She was breathtaking. He had to discover her name… why she was obviously being held captive… and what her favorite flower was…

Practicality soon returned to his mind, however, when he realized in order to achieve these goals he couldn’t be caught and become a prisoner himself. He already had little freedom as it was (thinking of the definite watchers The Wrangler must have had outside the building even as he stood here). Foxtrot sighed, promising himself he would see her again, and walked on to the third door.

Chapter 3: The Sorcerer's Jewels must be continued in our next installment! Please return soon to find out more about the mysterious girl, and exactly what the mystery is behind the Sorcerer’s Jewels*!

*we promise, nothing vulgar.



Chapter 3b: The Sorcerer’s Jewels

After knocking and waiting the instructed three seconds, Foxtrot stepped inside and looked around. It was a study, alright, and the occupant seemed to have watched one too many mystery flicks. Skulls with clichéd droopy candles were strewn about the room. Books lined the walls and were laying open, here and there, the writing unreadable. On the large desk in the corner of the room were several trinkets of interest, and Foxtrot immediately focused on these. Some were obviously solid gold, others silver, and a few what looked to be ivory. Fox moved to examine them when a shadow fell across the desk from behind him. He froze.

”I believe the instructions were explicit. The third door on the left. And, after entry, place the books on the desk. Today’s youth is so disappointing…” a deep and yet oily voice reached Sly’s ears.

He slowly turned to find a tall, completely bald man of obvious age looking down at him with solid black eyes. Dressed in dark robes, he had his hands pressed together as if in prayer in front of his chest, but Fox got the uneasy feeling that if this guy wasn’t praying to some dark demon, he was probably praying to himself. On the man's chest was a symbol… the same tattoo the girl had branded on her chest! Some kind of lightning arrow pointing down…The cold stare the man used as he regarded Foxtrot felt like he was reading his very mind… and Fox was a bit scared what the fellow might find in there.

The tall man sighed “I suppose I was asking for this. However I thought my instructions would at least be obeyed up to this point. Wasn’t the atmosphere enough to frighten you boy? I paid quite handsomly for the “Musty Smell Air Fresheners” and the “Terrible Torches of Tortuous Torment” you must have noticed on your way down here. Ah well, everything is so commercialized these days I suppose I shouldn’t have expected much. Damn I wish I had bought those “customer satisfaction” policies. I could have at least returned those purchases to Harga's House of Ill-Repute by now if I hadn’t been so cheap.”

Foxtrot didn’t know whether to laugh or run… well, that’s a lie. He couldn’t help laughing and was laughing so hard he didn’t even think to run.

“So, you find it amusing, do you?” the deep voice oozed out. He smiled a secret smile. ”I suppose it is, boy… yes, amusing. You have my books, I expect you would require your ‘payment?’”

Sly didn’t feel that this encounter was entirely real… the man obviously knew he had disobeyed the servant’s orders… yet here he was getting down to business like it was all a big joke? Perhaps this strange recluse wasn’t as evil as McPheely had led him to believe. But what about that girl? Sly decided to drop his act to learn as much as he could about his new heart’s desire.

”Alright, mister, you know I met her. Who is she? Why are you keeping her here?”

The bald man arched an eyebrow and crossed his arms. “Well, since you ask so politely and even though that is none of your concern, boy… I am feeling so generous today I believe I shall tell you. Aura is my… guest.”

Fox thought, What a beautiful name…

“I brought her here from her home planet, many light years away. Through the dark abyss that is the void of space, past galaxies and supernovas, black holes and secrets more treacherous than-”

Fox held up an hand. “Yeah, ok man, I get it, really far away, ok. So…? You’re what, some kinda’ ‘Sorcerer?’ Ok, don’t have to explain that either. I get that alright” he rolled his eyes around at the ambiance. “But why is she here? Who IS she? What is her favorite flower?” despite himself he was getting impatient. Besides, this “Sorcerer” seemed more hot air than anything else. After all, he was telling Foxtrot everything and seemed alright. He also suspected that anyone The Wrangler would send him after like this was probably one of the good ones anyway. Just like the overstuffed trainer to mess with his code...

The Sorcerer coughed… “Impatient, I see. Well boy, Aura is here because I wish it. You see,” he reached under his robe and pulled out a necklace of colorful gems. “She increases my powers with these…”

Foxtrot suddenly recalled some of what the girl had yelled at him. He hadn’t remembered until now because he had been so struck by her beauty… suddenly he had an uneasy feeling… and thought for the first time Wait… how come this guy IS telling me everything like this…

“You mean… those gems… her… blood?”

The dark Sorcerer Mordafallo grinned wide for the first time, and his face looked like one of the many skulls littering his study, minus the dribbley candle on top.

“Yes boy! She told you, did she! Her people were fascinating! After many experiments I discovered I could use their blood to create these powerful jewels! Increasing my power, TEN FOLD! Why, all I need is utter my spells and the jewels live! And they LIVE to do my bidding!”

Foxtrot felt horror welling up inside him, and the color drained from his face. “Her people… were fascinating…?”

“Oh yes, I couldn’t let them come after her, could I? They all had to perish. It was inevitable, I’m afraid… oh, who am I kidding! I’m not ‘afraid’ at all!"
The madman let out a burst of liquid laughter. "I cherished that pitiful race's destruction! Such people had no right to their inherent powers. Who knows what they would have got up to if I had not come along! It was a mercy killing, really. Pity, the girl doesn’t know I was so merciful to her parents. She was but an infant, you see. Perhaps one day I shall inform her of the truth…”

The young con-artist had never felt so sick to his stomach in his life. This man was truly mad… and his poor Aura… anger Fox never knew he possessed was suddenly awakened in him.

“You’ll never get away with what you have done! I’ll see you suffer for hurting her people!!”

The Mad Magician stopped his reminiscing, looked taken aback, and then burst out in slick, smooth, and shuddering laughter…
“Why, you like my little Aura? Isn’t she quite the exquisite creature? Perfect for my future bride, would you not say, boy Mordafallo flung these words out at him.

Foxtrot was incensed! The girl of his dreams was to be his bride?? Fox couldn’t help himself… “Listen, Mr. Wizard, you’re old enough to be her ancestor!! What, do you have some type of ‘magical jewel’ that you ‘think’ is gonna let you use your real jewels??*’ Because I gotta tell ya,’ you can’t get water from a stone!”

*earlier it was stated the the mystery of The Sorcerer’s Jewels was nothing vulgar. While this is still true, sadly, we can’t control The Sly Fox… his comment was only included to maintain accuracy. We apologize for any delicate sensibilities insulted as a result…

The old man turned redder than Fox’s back after one of The Wrangler’s latest punishments. “You contemptible little heathen! You dare presume to wag your filthy tongue at me!! I am glad one so despicable as you answered my add! I asked for one who coudn't read! A simpleton. I found it! Whoever sent you here has seen the LAST of you!! Fool of a boy, thinking I required some whelp to bring me ‘books!’ Yes, I can see in your eyes you know why I have been so open with you! I had no need of a page boy! I needed a stupid mind to conduct my many experiments on! Your screams will last to the very end of eternity. Only through your anguish will you know my true POWERS! No one can save you now! I own the police!! The so called “heroes” are tight-wearing-circus-acts, concerned with minor problems that have no REAL concern on society. Such as petty thug wars, and silly drug-addictions! You can not run, you can not hide! No one has defeated me! No law can catch me! No court has convicted me! And you will never-GURCK”

Foxtrot had made his decision during the Sorcerer’s tirade to do exactly what the insane orator had said had never happened to him, which was to “throw the book at him.” Thankfully, “the book” was Silvian’s Compendium to Carpet Demons… Leather-bound… 2,361 pages long... It had also struck the crazed mystic monk square in the middle of his bald head… Needless to say his vertical fall would have set Foxtrot into hysterics if he had not been so concerned with getting the sam-hell out of this wacky dungeon.

But Fox knew that once free he would be brought back to The Wrangler, even if he did somehow manage to avoid his trackers. It was an inevitability he would have to face without some kind of escape plan. So, he had to steal something to bring back to his master. Searching in vain, knowing he had to conceal it on his person to get past good ol’ Lurch upstairs, his eyes gravitated to the necklace of jewels the unconscious Sorcerer was still clutching.

“Mordafollo, huh. Well… it’s true, a ‘More-daft-fellow’ I have never met… He shouldn’t keep such an ill gotten treasure. Perhaps these could even give me powers to get away from McPheely!”

He reached down and grasped the exposed end of the necklace, but just then Mordafollo began to stir and mumble. Foxtrot was jerked back in surprise, and the necklace broke, sending gems everywhere. All he had was the one bright red one in his hand.

“Damn, can’t be greedy! Besides, one last thing to do!” he said to himself as he left the stirring Sorcerer. Tripping over a globe and knocking it over, he ran down to the first door where he had found the girl. However, as he burst in shouting “Aura, I’m here to rescue… you?” The vision of his dreams was gone. He shouted her name “Aura! Aura!” but to no avail. As he left the room ready to search the rest of the dungeon, he heard the oily voice raised in anger.


Despairing he would be caught, but not wanting to leave the girl, Foxtrot was torn. Suddenly, a thin hand gripped him from behind like a vice.

“The mahster is upset. I fear you are to blame. He will be most displeased and ‘pissy’ for quite some time now. You will have to suffer, I’m afraid. Better you than me, eh? Please… walk this way-doof”

The thin servant dropped like a lead sack, his grasp slipping from Fox’s shoulder and his head making an unpleasant smacking sound on the stone floor.


From above the prone form of the bludgeoned butler dropped Aura, with an intent look on her face. “I listened at the master’s door and heard all, my “would be rescuer.” I knew Alberto would stop you, so I had to hide and prepare fast! Go now, RUN!” She pushed at him with her hands.

But you’re coming with me!” Sly protested, taking her by the shoulders.

She shrugged him off. “ I am sorry, the collar I wear is bound to him, I can not travel far from his side for fear of death… but it binds him to me as well, if I stay and remain hidden for a time, he will not be able to give chase!”


With a quick lean into Foxtrot, Aura kissed him briefly but deeply. He looked into her eyes with heartache. “Roses, red roses.” she whispered to him. “There is nothing you can do for me now! RUN!! With that, she shoved him away roughly, and took off down the other end of the hallway, disappearing around a corner.

“I’ll return for you! You’ll see!!” was all Sylvester “Foxtrot” Trotter was able to say, and would have stayed there motionless, if not for the crashing and cursing coming from the study. With lightning fast speed he raced up the stairs, through the oaken door, down the hallway and right through the front door. For a second, he thought he was in the clear, but then he heard the voice from within the house.


Fox didn’t need to hear the rest. Oh why couldn’t it have been the eternal fire of hell?? he thought.

Racing down the street he ducked into an alley, but already he heard the sirens blasting a few blocks away. As he ran he risked a glance behind him. No pursuit! He would get out of this yet! Dodging down another alley, and definetly losing breath by now, Foxtrot ducked into a local diner.

If he could just blend in with the crowd, he would be in the clear. He quickly sat down and ordered some soup. As it was served, and just as he was beginning to relax, sirens pulled up and tires screeched to a halt. The door burst open and Foxtrot willed himself not to turn around.

”Alright people, we’re looking for a house burglar. Every kid in here line up, and prepare to be searched… and this will all run smoothly”

Sly panicked! This was how it would end?? To be arrested and sent to juvie??? He knew arrested members of “the pack” never lasted long. Always meeting with some “accident” or another…

He looked at the dark red jewel in his hand. Could he drop it in the soup? Yes! Then he could escape without being caught! He didn’t even need the gem for The Wrangler if he was going to be arrested because of it anyway!

Trying to be non-chalant he moved his hand over the dish and PLUNK! There now he was free and clear, all he had to do was get searched and-

“Here what was that, young man? What did you drop in there?” the damned waitress asked him in a loud nasal voice.

He saw a cop out of the corner of his eye look up at the question and motion to his partner. He was trapped again! Suddenly, he knew the way out. He didn’t like it, but he seemed to be left with no alternative… Oh well, he sighed to himself… what doesn’t kill us… ... ... I hope...

Smiling disarmingly up at the woman, he said, “Oh just my own secret blend of herbs and spices!” and with a quick motion scooped up the jewel in his soup and downed it in one swallow. He then picked up the bowl and swallowed the contents to wash it down, just as the officer reached him and placed a hand on his shoulder.

“What are you up to lad? What’s going on here…? Well? What have you got to say for yourself?”

A long silence passed… you could hear a pin drop among the patrons. Then…

“BUUURRRRRRPPPP!!!!!!... … …… excuse me?”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Meanwhile back at the disrupted townhouse.

“I’m sorry, mahster, the young vixen got the drop on me. Shall we send out the contacts to find the boy?” Alberto asked, holding an icepack to his already swelling head.

“We can attempt it, Al, but my guess is he’s long gone by now. Curse that girl. If she wasn’t to be my bride, and wasn’t so damned useful for the power she provides, I’d do away with her… And I really mean it this time Al. I’d really do it. I swear!” Mordafallo also had a large icepack perched on his shiny head.

“Of course, mahster, of course. But what about the jewel? The boy could seriously use that to his advantage. It was the cornerstone of your powers.”

“Never fear, faithful Al. He could never unleash it’s true might. Not unless he knows the secret incantations only I possess!”
The sulking Sorcerer winced, and looked up form his reclined position on the couch at his manservant. “But this damned incident may have brought unwanted attention from the hero front. Pack up your things, Al. We’re leaving for now…”

In the next room, the young girl listened to her life captor’s words… and silently cried…

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Ironically, when Foxtrot finally was brought in by The Wrangler’s trackers, Simon McPheely was all smiles. It seemed he had known much of who the Sorcerer Mordafallo really was, and had been using Fox as a pawn the entire plot. Knowing he had to find out what the rogue wizard was up too, but not wanting to risk getting caught, he had sent Sly to gain information for him. If the little b***tard was killed, so be it. As much as he was a boon to McPheely’s organization, he had no attachment to just another one of his ‘curs.’

However, he not only got Mordafallo to pick up roots and abandon town, he also got the added bonus of his favorite “pet” returned to him. He was further pleased as punch to learn Foxtrot thought the incident a failure, and thus could control him better with a reminder of this fact.

Fox never mentioned the jewel to The Wrangler, and all but soon forgot about it. That night he had lain awake, writhing in pain as it felt like the hard lump in his stomach was fusing into his body. When he awoke the next morning, the pain was gone, and so was the feeling of a weight inside him. From that point on he put it out of his mind, little knowing what the forgotten act would lead to…

Before Sly could learn of the Sorcerer’s departure, he returned to the townhouse as soon as he was able. Finding it abandoned, he sat forlornly on the steps… his only thought of the one girl he had met in his life up to this point he truly knew he loved… and had lost just as quickly…

…from his hands, slipped a single red rose to the cold ground…

So ends the second half of Chapter 3! Keep following, readers, for the next chapter of our in-depth “tail!” The Rikti invade! An old villain returns!! And Sylvester “Foxtrot” Trotter finally becomes… “The Sly Fox”! Until then!



Chapter 4: Death Breaks the Leash

When last we left Sylvester “Foxtrot” Trotter, he had met the love of his life and lost her, taken his first step on the road that would ultimately lead him to his powers, and managed to narrowly escape death at the hands of his first true super villain… all in the very same day. Following these events, Foxtrot returned to his somewhat predictable life as slave to a contemptible master. Not until 5 years later did anything truly notable happen in Foxtrot’s "tail"… of course, as the old saying goes, when it rains it pours…

…many dark years for The Sly Fox came and went…

Most boys either died, were caught, or were beaten to death under The Wrangler’s rule before they ever reached 18. However, Foxtrot was one of the few who managed to survive. Whether by his will or plain dumb luck (but certainly not by his sharp tongue), Foxtrot lived to reach adulthood as an “outcast” member of the pack. By the year 2002 he was still the leading con man of them all. Foxtrot, now 22, had become the despised freak of the group, yet he was secretly revered by many of the younger boys in the gang, for he was the only one to show them any form of guidance and compassion. As the pack had grown over the years, they had surprisingly become known as a band of “misfit merry men…” and not the old image of dirty street punks.

This entire change in image was all thanks to Foxtrot. As McPheely got increasingly older, he seemed to lose interest in daily lessons for his pack and moved to greedily sitting on his horde of treasure they had won him over the years. This does not mean he want soft, for The Wrangler still dished out torment and fear to any who openly defied him. His core group of “trackers” were also fiercly loyal, and just stupid enough not to ever question the aging Wrangler (McPheely had insured that…)

By now, Foxtrot, could probably have succeeded in his long-time goal of escape if he had so chosen. But Sly had fallen into another trap. He couldn’t up and abandon all the pups that now depended on him. Who knows what they would have to suffer if The Wrangler was forced to pick up the whip and take a more active role in their “education” once again… Nor could he take care of them all on his own if he decided to escape with them, for Simon McPheely still had many loyal and cutthroat trackers at his beck and call, not to mention the swarms of people in the city who owed him favors. Ironically, McPheely had tightened the leash around his neck stronger than ever before, with the obligation he now felt for his adopted younger brothers.

So Foxtrot remained, and managed to teach the new recruits that to survive one didn’t have to constantly make enemies. Allies in their world were just as important as victims, and the more disreputable your victims, the better quality of your allies. Although Simon McPheely was no fool, he let Sly gradually take over his role of teacher, for he had learned in his later years that Foxtrot’s methods provided him with heavier pockets. If The Wrangler had perhaps gotten lazier, he had never lost his greed.

Then, something happened to disrupt their way of life and the lives of every citizen of Paragon. On the afternoon of May 23, 2002, Foxtrot's old friend Pug was walking down the center of Industrial Way when one of his trainees, “Schnauzer,” pointed up into the sky. Thousands upon thousands of red lights were winking down at them, and it was a sight to behold. Pug immediately returned to the pound to tell Foxtrot of the historical development. Foxtrot ordered everyone to remain inside, and only the older members were to venture outside to find out if the heroes and authorities of the city had discovered the light’s origins. Pug was to remain protecting the youngest members in the safety of the pound.

When it was brought to the attention of McPheely, however, the avarious lord of the kennel ordered all “curs” out to loot during the confusion! When the Rikti finally invaded that night, over 90% of the gang, mainly the young ones, were caught in the attack. All perished. Pug was the oldest of the pack to die, having been zapped by a flying alien as he tried to help four trainees back to the safety of the pound. Bull-Dog, who witnessed this death and the deaths of three of his fellow trackers, reported back to McPheely that these invaders were “a bit tuff, mastah.”

During the first attack it was all Foxtrot could do to remain breathing himself. When he finally returned to the pound, badly burned and coughing, he learned of what had happened… the death of Pug hit him the hardest. He was supposed to be safe, they ALL were! was what rang in Sly’s head, over and over again. At this moment, he lost his fear of The Wrangler in a single blaze of pure hatred, obviously suppressed over the years. He was then sent over the edge when approached by Bull-Dog.

“Awe, da mutt gonna cry? Yur little love-boy met his maker, ah ight. I saw it all, I did! If I hadn’t shut dat door behind me fast and let him an da runts in, dem crazy tings might have got me too!” The moronic old bully shook his head almost like he was the luckiest and smartest man on earth.

Foxtrot stared at his old bully. True, since he had turned 20 he had not been beaten by the neanderthal, but that never meant the mental midget hadn’t done everything he could to make his life more unbearable. All that didn’t matter now, though. Pug and who knew who else had died because of him it seemed. And Bull-Dog just laughed, laughed at this whole mess, with the city about ready to collapse around them.

Without a single sly comment or witty remark, Foxtrot swung his fist and knocked the chortling simpleton’s teeth in. Although he had probably broken his hand, the satisfaction of seeing the lout go down like so much wet cement brought a certain justification to Sly’s mind, in the midst of his heart-wrenching grief. His eyes burned... Not one remaining tracker moved to stop him as he walked towards The Wrangler’s private office. In fact, once he passed, they all turned their tails and ran off into the night, oblivious to the chaos around them, sensing on their own everything they knew had suddenly and unexpectedly changed forever.

Foxtrot found Simon McPheely sitting in his chair. Staring at an old parchment in his hands and chewing on his sickening cigar. He did not look up as he approached. Fox reached over, yanked the soggy chew toy from the massive man’s mouth, and threw it on the ground. Only then did The Wrangler slowly look up.

“Knew dis day would come, kit” The once feared master said, quietly. “You come to challenge me leadership, and take charge of me pack…”

Foxtrot couldn’t believe the STUPIDITY of this… pathetic creature before him. He had cringed at his voice for so many years. His back bore scars too numerous to mention by the dusty whip forgotten in the corner of the room. Was Sly really that much of a coward he let this man control him for so long?

“Take… charge… of…. WHAT PACK?? They’re dead, you fat b**tard, DEAD! Dober, Schnauzer, Greyhound, the pups… … Pug… ALL DEAD. And for what, you old senile sonofabitch, FOR WHAT? So you could add just that bit more to your coffers? Your "well-earned" spoils. You’ve always “cried havoc” again and again, simple Simon, but this time you actually “let slip the dogs of war…” let them slip out of the brief but beautiful lives they lived. You are a monster, you hear me, a MONSTER,” Foxtrot grabbed the letter opener off the man he once called master’s desk and held it to his fleshy neck, “and I’m going to end your reign of torture and grief right here, in this “precious” kennel of yours once and for all!”

As Sly breathed heavily, The aging Wrangler stared at him from his cold, beady eyes. They he began a deep, throaty chuckle. Foxtrot stepped back in horror at the madness inside he old slave-driver.

“Ta think, all these years… and I never once thought ya actually CARED for those stupid curs. You war always me biggest threat, Trotter. Always slowly gaining dere worship, dere respect. Here I was, preparing for yar challenge, and you never were gonna. Yar a coward! A little sissy pup-lover who never had the balls ta’ even challenge me. Well, I been preparing, Trotter, I been preparing. And even if the city looks to be over, my pack looks to be over, I’ll be a mutt’s [censored] in hell befar I sees ya get the best of me!”

Before Foxtrot could comprehend what the old fool was saying, The Wrangler began reading from the parchment he had been holding in his meaty, sweaty palms…

“Nox Obivonous Vee Mintrol Samoosoo MORDAFALLO! Sek SLARINDOCK Triveel Vixenus Vee Blorvintious RESIDENSHEE! Sylvester Trotter Sep Nit NOGGASORE!”

As Sly’s ears recognized the one name in the slew of gibberish besides his own, his stomach suddenly burst into fiery pain and he collapsed to the floor, writhing in agony.

“Rarf RARF RAF RAF RAFF!!!’ The Wrangler stood, barking with hateful laughter. “Ya think yar ol mastar can’t put two and two tagehter?? I gathered what you done that day on your first con. I heard the stories. You swallowed that fool Sorcerer’s gem didn’t ya!! Took me quite a load of cash to get me hands on dis, but I was assured by dat merc Tristam I hired it would bring yar death, Foxtrot, yar DEATH!” The Wrangler doubled over with wicked amusement, as Fox bucked at his feet.

As Simon McPheely’s laughter died down, so did Sly’s thrashing. Then, all was still save the distant sounds of explosions outside. McPheely walked over to the motionless Fox and nudged his body harshly with his boot.

“Too bad ya didn’t suffer longer, kit. I would have loiked ta-AHHHHHH!!!”

With a sudden raise of his arm the believed dead figure on the floor sent out pain into McPheely’s very soul. Surround by an eerie blue light, the fat man collapsed to the ground, screaming in agony.

“You paid a hearty sum for the truth, McPheely. The man you knew did die. You are now looking at The Sly Fox

The Sly Fox slowly stood and looked down at his would-be-murderer.

"Looking, yes, but not for long!”

With a flash from his forehead The Sly Fox blinded the screaming fat blob once known as “the lord of the kennel.” The reborn man looked over at the parchment which has fallen to the ground and picked it up. He realized he could understand the strange writing and translated it with ease:

“By the power of The Sorcerer Mordafallo! I command the blood of the vixen to LIVE! Slyvester Trotter shall be no more!”

The Sly Fox, at first invigorated by this unknown knowledge and command of powers he seemed to perfectly understand, at once suddenly felt his mind slipping away back to it’s old self. Realizing he had to act quickly before whatever had happened to him stopped, The Sly Fox picked up the groaning Wrangler and shook him roughly.

“Who gave you that parchment!! Where did they get it?” he demanded.

“Man… called Tristam. Dressed in black. Said he was … assassin an teef for hire. Had an… odd tail… Please Foxtrot don’t kill yar old master… I always respected ya, ya know. Always… respected yeah…” slowly the beaten McPheely reached behind his back.

The Sly Fox was too busy pondering all this new information to notice McPheely’s actions. Who was this ‘Tristam?’ His mind shouted. A tail? A long-lost relative of his beloved Aura, perhaps?

As his mind flew in a thousand different directions, The Wrangler, having regained his sight and realizing the previous wounds he had felt were dying away and must have been imaginary, reached around from his back and plunged a knife deep into Sly’s shoulder.

The Sly Fox gasped in pain and let go of The Wrangler, but before he let him come at him, he instinctively threw out his arms and pushed the devious fat Fagan out the window with a suddenly burst of gale force winds. As McPheely flew, the shocked look on his fleshy face would have been quite comical, if Sly could have seen it.

As the dust settled, Sly stumbled to the window to look out. There, impaled on the wrought iron fence lay the remains of Simon “The Wrangler” McPheely… once the most feared and dreaded man of young “pups” everywhere. The Sly Fox had never once before taken a life… but at this moment, he was too tired to care. He lurched through the office, shoulder throbbing, stepped over the still recumbent Bull-Dog, and nearly fell out the entrance. As he stumbled off leaving the pound behind, he entered the night battle still raging throughout the city. The sudden knowledge brought to him by whatever the long digested jewel had done to his body ebbed away. When his strength died, and he collapsed on the ground, he only prayed the invading aliens would incinerate him quikley.

The end of Sylvester “Foxtrot” Trotter has come, but is this also the end for The Sly Fox? ... of course not! We know you aren't stupid, faithful reader, The Adventures of The Sly Fox have only begun!! He may be a changed man, but is he truely a hero yet?? Is this new man merely a product of the magic jewel awakened within him? Or perhaps more a sum of the hardships and tragedies he has endured over his life? Only time will tell… and what of this mysterious Tristam who seemed to have discovered Mordafallo’s secret incantations in hopes The Sly Fox whould be created?? Tune in, faithful readers, for answers to these questions and more in the upcoming installment of our “tail...” Chapter 5: A Fox Among Heroes! Until then! …



OOC: GO FOX GO!! *waves a little flag* Served that jerk right. I love the story thus far, though I am totally unwilling to leave TSF alone in a room of pretty debutantes.

"The proper office of a friend is to side with you when you are in the wrong. Nearly anybody will side with you when you are in the right."
- Mark Twain, Notebook, 1898
- Bart Allen, aka Impulse/Kid Flash/The Flash, Teen Titans v.3, #6



OOC: Applause all round, I really enjoyed your story thus far. Infact I challenged the chance of being caught reading it at work.
I was going to write a bio of my own until I saw yours. Your creative writing is far above mine .



OCC: Thanks guys you are awesome!!

Don't put your own "wrting style" down though... some of the stuff I have written I have been really disappointed with... The Sly Fox has only clicked for me because I really CARE about him and can RP him well I think. The trick is, to find something that you LOVE to write about... as it goes now it's hard not to spend a few hours writing his "tail" and NOT level him and fun in the game!!!! That's how much I love developing his story... we'll see, though... gotta get more powers!!!



((A truly excellent story, looking forward to the next installment.))



OOC: Random thought; are you going to submit a "tail" to the devs, TSF? You'd be a shoo-in, but that's my opinion, and I am a wacky roleplayer.

"The proper office of a friend is to side with you when you are in the wrong. Nearly anybody will side with you when you are in the right."
- Mark Twain, Notebook, 1898
- Bart Allen, aka Impulse/Kid Flash/The Flash, Teen Titans v.3, #6



excelcior, and for the heck of it heres a quote for what heros are saying from old neko

"Sly Fox is a real card, i think its the Joker, but id much rather be teleported by him then face Ivory's Cancer inducing Limbo..."
Neko's Law

AE # 67087: Journey through the Looking Glass - Save the World
LLX VirtueVerse! - Check out my crazy Toons
This is the size of group that we have balanced AVs for, 6.
-Positron 06/07/06 07:27 PM



I'm thinking so, yes... now the only trick is... what to write... when to write it... and do I give up playing the game to write it!!



Thank you Lady Neko, you are a good kitty!

(And an excellent cat to have your back if anyone is ever looking!)



Great read, can not wait to see some more.



Welcome back, recurring readers, to Chapter 5: A Fox Among Heroes... all part of our investigation on who is that red bedecked rascal, The Sly Fox.

When last we left Fox, you should recall he was beaten and wounded without a friend left in the warring city. His price for finally breaking the leash that had bound him for 7 years to the wicked Simon "The Wrangler" McPheely was death... The death of McPheely at Sly's own hands... but, even more importantly, the death of his few friends during the Rikti Attack… and the deaths that ultimately drove him to the involuntary murder.

This was also the turning point for The Sly Fox's current identity to emerge, as he had gained his powers from an unknown instigator in his life... one "Tristam." Whether this mysterious man behind the scenes is connected to Sly's lost love Aura, or whether he has other motives on his mind, we have yet to discover...

We now pick up where we last left our "hero." Awakening after his collapse on the street during the first Rikti invasion, he must figure out where his life will head next...

Chapter 5: A Fox Among Heroes

Harsh fluorescent lights leaked through Sly's eyelids... dark dreams and nightmares from his past slowly faded away, as he was gradually brought back to reality by the glare. As he slowly opened his eyes, he heard the sounds of life support monitors and people talking in hushed voices trying to hide their obvious anxiety. Sly moved to sit up, but the pain in his now bandaged shoulder told him that would not be a good idea. He slowly turned his head to look around him...

Whatever hospital he was in was filled to its capacity with wounded and groaning Paragon citizens. There even seemed to be people simply seeking shelter form the distant "storm" outside. Apparently, he had been brought to whatever area near the pound had been chosen as the field recovery station and "fort." He could only hope it was well defended...

Sly tried to think back on the night’s previous events. Was “The Wrangler” really gone…? The fat slave-master had been such a large part of his maturing life, that it did not seem possible. What’s worse, the feelings of remorse he felt for actually killing the villain, however much he had it coming to him, shocked him all the more. True, at the moment of his anger he had wanted the man dead at his own hands, but he never actually intended to follow through with the emotion. He took little consolation that it was in self defense… all he knew was that he had taken the life of another human being.

Another human being… heh… if I even classify now, Fox thought dismally to himself. What did McPheely do to me? This… jewel inside me… what AM I? Some freak? I don’t even remember how I did what I did… and that parchment… Mordafallo… was this Tristam trying to save me? Or kill me…

Fox was only able to search his own brain for answers… the silence that greeted him there was not welcome, but nevertheless expected.

As Sly looked around at the doctors and nurses, hoping to grab one’s attention that he was awake, he noticed that one Doctor was staring at him. Now that the man saw he had Fox’s attention, he walked over to him.

He was wearing the traditional surgeon’s attire, with a mask over his face. All Sly could see were light blue eyes. They reminded him of… someone… who?

“Feeling better, Sly” The man asked in a gravely voice… as if he was the consummate chain smoker. Fox’s heart froze at his nickname… one that he called himself all the time, but was only remembered (as far as he knew) by the people from his old home, St. Uther's Church.

“How did you-” he began trying to sit up despite the pain.

“Hush,” whispered the stranger, gently easing him back down on his good shoulder. “I have been learning all I can of you for quite awhile. You are, after all, the only one who has seen my sister since her kidnapping. Therefore you have become quite a, priority in my eyes. You are quite heavier than you look, though.”

“Your sister…? You saved me…? What are you-” it didn’t take that much longer for Fox to fit the pieces together, especially when he noticed odd movement coming from behind the Doctor, as if he had something alive behind him hidden in his pants.

(Despite your expected snickers here, reader, Fox had been through a bit much recently to notice how funny the previous sentence could be, however base the humor…)

“You’re Tristam! And you’re… Aura’s BROTHER!!??” Sly exclaimed this loud enough to draw attention from the room around him. Tristam gave him a warning glance, looked around at the crowd with jest in his eyes, and said it a raised voice full of good humor (if more noticeably rasping), “Sorry folks. Guy needed bit to much morphine. Don’t mind him.” The crowd went back to worrying about their own problems.

You must use more caution, young Fox His hopefully “future brother-in-law” (What can we say? Sly had a one-track, determined mind!) whispered back to him. “There are eyes and ears everywhere. Yes I am who you called me. Yes I am her brother… but we must not talk here. I have reason to believe this recent invasion is somehow going along with The Sorcerer’s plots. Hush now! Yes, you know of whom I speak. Suffice it to say it could prove my entire life’s work over the last two decades pointless… but there is yet hope. That hope is that the heroes of your Planet pull through. And that you must survive!”

“But what have you done to me?” Sly whispered fiercely back, “How could you get your hands on that… scroll… how could you know what it would do? That McPheely wouldn’t have succeeded in killing me? Why did you give me these… powers I have no grasp over and do not understand??”

A look of almost regret passed through the man Tristam’s eyes, but it was replaced by a cold determination. “Whatever I have had to do, I have done for my family. For my sister. I am sorry you had to be a tool in this manner, but you were the only way Fox. You must in time forgive me… how I got my hands on the… scroll… and the difference between what I suspected about you and what I know can not be discussed, either here or now.”

The would-be-answer to all of Sly’s burning questions suddenly looked up sharply. “I have lingered here too long! He has spies everywhere! Remember that, young Fox. He has not forgotten you, and he is NOT as incompetent as you may think… only lazy in regards to what he does not conceive to be a threat! If he thought for one moment the power from his ‘priceless jewel’ had been awakened, he would have you killed outright! Keep a low profile until I return!”

was all Sly could manage before the mysterious brother quickly left, disappearing into the throng of refugees…

The Sly Fox laid on his hospital bed… looking up at the ceiling. He was being used? To help Aura perhaps? He could live with that aspect… but the fact that HE was a pawn… that did not suit him.

He had too many questions for this Tristam to obey his every command blindly! Who was he to tell Sly how to run his life? Would Tristam like it if Sly told him ‘those things will kill you, you know, try the patch…”

No! Sly had been pushed, forced, and coerced to do everything someone else desired almost his whole life. He was finally, truly, and utterly FREE! And he had almost SUPERHERO powers now! He could use THAT to his advantage!! Maybe he would save Aura if he ever got the chance, but he would do it on HIS terms. HE would be the hero, not this “puppet-master” of a brother.

As he gradually began to fall back asleep, Sly's own look of supreme determination remained on his face. He would become a successful man, on his own, with no one to look after but himself… once again…

…outside, A dark figure removed his doctor’s mask and replaced it with his usual concealment of black cloth wrapped over his face. He lit a cigarette, but unknown to the drowsing rascal inside this was not the cause for his wounded voice. It was merely a habit he had picked up while visiting this oddly self-involved world... As the smoke wreathed around his head, the dark man calling himself Tristam looked to the early morning sky filled with flashes from the ongoing conflict, and sighed.

Forgive me sister, but I shall save you no matter the cost… I can not protect him now, I have to leave to insure I am not discovered… I only hope the young man can heed my words and not disrupt my careful plans. I have waited this long, sister, I can not risk failure now… may our father give me strength…

With this last private pledge the figure faded into the darkness…

What could possibly be the answers to many questions we have left in your minds, oh avid readers? Read on to hopefully discover more.

For the next five months during the invasion, Sly was of course focused entirely on surviving the war. He never let anyone know about his powers, mainly because he had little to no control over them. More importantly, however, he did not want to become a blazing target to the attacking Rikti, who soon realized the power of Earth’s superhuman defenders and focused their attacks on them.

Sly became just another citizen trying to help the world’s defenders battle the never-ending onslaught, never revealing himself or his new-found potential.

However, when he was manning a recovery station near the border of Steal Canyon and the battle zone that had once been Baumtown, Sly noticed an unknown hero fall from the sky, landing close to the station.

Without a thought to his plans for secrecy, he sprinted out to the crashed hero, and felt a rush of Oxygen and life-force within him. He quickly transferred it to the fatally-wounded heroine, probably saving her fading life. As she awoke, he became a simple citizen helping her up to get to the station. Although she gave him an odd glance as he helped her along, the brave defender must have been too battle weary to make a note of Fox, for he never saw or heard of her again.

This brief display of heroism, however, was just that… brief and not common. Sly mainly kept to his role of helping the war efforts normally…

When the battle had finally ended thanks to the sacrifice of the Omega Team, Sly was one of the few left to rebuild. With the Rikti threat diminished, and everyone around him getting back to their lives, Sly was finally able to face his new situation. He had no life to “get back to…” Whatever life he had lived in Paragon was over. No more master, no more pack… just him alone. So, Sly resolved to become the success he had promised himself to be since he first left St. Uther’s almost a decade ago.

He reverted back to his confidence man ways, but with a radical change from his last attempt. With the hero force decimated and crime beginning to return to Paragon in droves, a simple con man was not as primary a target as he once had been before the war. Plus, he now found his powers increasing as each day went by! He could teleport things to him at the merest wish… could become invisible by his will alone. He could even exert his control over someone to shift their perceptions over reality. He had always dreamed of using magic to solve all his problems as a kid, but this was actually happening!

He was right under all the heroes of Paragon’s noses… a man with powers much like their own… and yet not a soul knew it! It was invigorating, to be this secret “Fox…” hidden in the very "City of Heroes," with every super powered detective and mental mystic non-the-wiser!

Sly predictably began his career on the wealthy individuals he deemed “worthy of his specific attention.” This typically meant gang leaders, crooked politicians, and anyone he saw as a detriment to mankind. However he was far from a saint, and he kept nearly his entire score for himself, rarely doing anything for “charity.” As he saw it, the world owed him a lot, and while he might never turn his back on anyone in need, he hardly went LOOKING for anyone to save, either.

Whether it was becoming invisible to get the dirt on a mark, or it was deceiving them with a magical wave of his hand into thinking their goons were out to get them, Sly used his new powers whenever he could. However, he focused not on these gifts, but on his wits. A blackmailed politician had to pay SOMEONE, otherwise there was no blackmail! Quite often the politician needed to hire a “professional” to root out the blackmailer and put a stop to it… a position Sly was already poised to fill. Even a deceived mob boss needed the “new advisor” to protect his fortune by the suddenly suspicious “greedy minions.” In short, Fox had his hands full.

This reliance on his wits and the overshadowing of his powers are probably what saved his life, for it completely kept him off the radar of anyone who might be looking at him. Plus, with his quick rise up the affluent ladder, he soon lost all similarities to the grubby “pack member” he had once been. Despite his rebellious pledge not to follow Tristam’s warning, he seemed to be safe from discovery for the time being.

He became quite successful. However, this line of work only introduced him to the ugliness of civilization… the aspects of our society that no one can be such a part of without becoming quite cynical. Sly was not unaffected. He had immense fun playing the one guy who was one step ahead of the herd… but he never turned around to make sure the herd was still behind him. He grew rich, now sported a “dashing” goatee, and became quite the playboy. He even procured a sizeable Penthouse in Atlas Park through rather “creative” means… (as the owner had no idea his property was in use and lived permanently in England, this was quite creative.)

This reckless and exciting lifestyle changed one morning in March of 2003, however, when Fox awakened from quite a wild night spending off his recently acquired score…

Once again, we ask the reader to suspend his or her disbelief and imagine the following reenactment as truth… for The Sly Fox was again unable to be reached for comment…

Sly awoke to the sound of someone busy in the kitchen. Oh, he enjoyed when they made breakfast! Whatever this one’s name was… Susan? Sheila? Samantha? Well, regardless, he enjoyed not having to worry about a cold bowl of cereal. He could of course afford a maid, but that would lead to too many questions down the road for said employee. Besides, he got by alright! He quite often awoke to the pleasant aroma of frying bacon after an equally “pleasant” night. His life suited him just fine!

Getting up wearing only his boxers, Sly left his bedroom and strolled out to wish good morning to… whoever. He loved it when a woman would wear his shirts as they cooked breakfast! He hoped that she would… be wearing a black ninja outfit with a mask concealing her face???

“Oh hell!” Sly exclaimed. “Not Wu… anything but Wu… ok, how did you find me and… wait, excuse me, but if you are a hired assassin why are you cooking me breakfast? Is this some kind of new Japanese Torture? Pain with Pancakes?”

As the man turned around from the stove, his light blue eyes scored instant recognition with Sly. More to the point, as he walked around the counter and Fox finally saw the allusive tail, the recognition was brought home like a fierce kick to Bull-Dog’s unmentionables…

“Ah… sleeping beauty arises. And with such little modesty too!” That familiar gravely voice greeted him. Sly quickly glanced down at his garb, turn red, and rushed back into his bedroom.

“Don’t you go anywhere! I got a lot of questions for you. And where is… um… that girl who was here!! What did you do to her?” His voice shouted and was muffled as he threw on last night’s clothes that had been strewn over the floor.

“You mean Tabitha?” Tristam inquired.

Damn not even close with that one… must be slipping a bit… Sly thought as he raced back out to confront his uninvited guest.

“Yeah, Tabitha! Where did she go?” he returned as he entered the room.

“Sabrina, being her actual name…

(Do’h! Well at least I WAS close…)

…little Fox, left with the impression I was your long lost brother returned from the Far East. Do not worry, my true “tail” was concealed. My sister would hardly approve, Sly…”
He said the last with a disproving stare.

Sly hadn’t thought about Aura in quite some time. It only brought back heartache and something that obviously was “not to be.” But an odd guilt did penetrate his tough shell just the same. Of course, he was soon on the defensive.

“Unless you know where your sister is, or if she’s even still ‘available…’” He paused at this last barb… sadly thinking how tragic it would be if the poor girl had been forced to marry that awful Mordafallo… “Anyway, unless that’s the case, I hardly think my private life is any of your concern. What’s the matter, jealous? Can’t find a decent alien girl around here? Try Galaxy City, Mr. Mystery, and leave a man to enjoy his morning rituals in peace!” Fox finished the last and walked past the masked man, preparing a plate for himself from Tristam’s work. Hey, he was hungry… why let a meal go to waste, no matter who cooked it!

“You have stumbled upon my point exactly, little Fox… Aura is here, in the city…”

Sly’s plate dropped to the ground with a smash, he rushed over to Tristam, stepping on forgotten breakfast in his haste.

“She is! Where is she? She escaped? I HAVE to see her!!” He exclaimed, grabbing the informant’s shoulders excitedly.

“So… now I have finally captured Sylvester Trotter’s interest, hmm? Easy now. She has far from escaped. In fact Mordafallo still has her under lock and key… he has only returned, in fact, to arrange for the pending nuptials. An event I am sure you would care to prevent?” The world traveler explained.

“She will never marry that Hair-Club-For-Men reject! I won’t allow it! Where is she!!” He demanded again.

“Regardless of what she “will” or “won’t” do, little Fox, my sister has little choice in the matter. Yes, of course we must rescue her. But calm yourself. I have awaited the perfect moment to undertake such an event for many years… I will not fail because I suddenly became ‘rash.’”

Sly stopped at this… and removed his hands from the man… then looked at him, his eyes narrowing…

“You’ve been using me from the start… to save your sister… that’s why you gave the parchment to McPheely…” Sly stepped away from Tristam.

The gravely voice sighed, sounding like an exasperated victim of emphysema. “Yes Sly, I have. If there had been any other way, I would have used it, believe me. I’ve tried so many different methods. None have been anywhere close to success… but YOU were the only who opened this door for me by swallowing that jewel… you made my plan possible. Please, for my sister’s sake, for the girl I know you care for, you have to work with me… not against me.” The blue eyes pierced his heart, genuine in their plea.

Sly wasn’t really considering the refusal of such an honest request to save the only girl he had ever truly felt a deep connection for… he merely enjoyed having the upper hand in any situation.

Finally… “Very well, Tristam… I’ll do this… your way. But I won’t work with a man who won’t show me his face.”

With a solemn nod, almost as if the traveler understood this request as a matter of course (if still regrettable), removed his mask wrappings…

Sly gasped in shock. Scarred tissue covered the man’s mouth and neck… he barely had lips to speak with. So it wasn’t excessive smoking that gave him that voice like Orson Wells with laryngitis… what could have caused such disfigurement?

“Mordafallo…” Was Tristam’s rasping answer to the unspoken question in Sly’s gaze. “However, I am one of the lucky ones, left for dead. My parents, along with most of our race, were not so fortunate…” Coldness had swept over the dark man… coldness that filled Sly’s heart with dread… and sympathy for what this man must have gone through…

“I will help you, Tristam… we will save Aura. But how can you know all this? If you know so much about his plans, why have you been unable to defeat Mordafallo and rescue her without me?” Sly still needed to know.

“The Sorcerer can sense my race, little Fox. Through my sister, he does it… I would not be able to get within two miles of her. However, I have one current spy within his organization. This spy allows me to gain what information I can gather. It was this individual who got me that correct incantation I inscribed on the parchment you saw in McPheely’s hands.”

“Who?” Sly wondered allowed.

“I can not reveal that identity at this time. If we should fail, and you captured, I will still need that resource if I am to somehow continue in this task.” Tristam saw the look of doubt on Sly’s face. “Fear not, little Fox, for failure is NO option here… I am only very cautious, which I’ve no doubt you understand. You are the key to unlocking Mordafallo’s link to Aura. This will not only free her, but it will obliterate the powers he is able to siphon from her. We shall use this to our advantage! No, sit, eat the food I have prepared, and let’s commence!”

The two plotters then sat down in the early morning to begin the plan to free the girl they both loved… in their own way…

Thus ends Chapter 5: A Fox Among Heroes! When next we meet, the last ditch effort to same Aura, and the ultimate fate and destiny of The Sly Fox is finally revealed! Hope to see you there!



Really excellent. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this (I am up to part III so far). Just wanted you to know your hard work is appreciated.



Really excellent. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this (I am up to part III so far). Just wanted you to know your hard work is appreciated.

[/ QUOTE ]

Thank you Paladiene, altough I must say it's all the work of the that lovely young reporter doing the piece on me... she may get certain facts wrong, but she has a nice smile, so it's all good!

OOC: it IS surprisingly hard... either I spend my time playing, or trying to write... wasn't AS pleased with Chapter 5 as I would have hoped... not enough happened, and a lot of exposition... hopefully the final Chapter 6 will be back to more action and adventure! Hope you enjoy it!



Phew, I finally got around to finish reading all the chapters.. ^^ What can i say then? Originality, humour and good writing really does go hand in hand.. ^^

I hope to see more of Fox soon.. ^^



Thank you Void, love your work too! (and if I can hide the fact I try to read it from my boss better I'll be able to finish your's soon as well!!)

I hope to finish Chapter 6 this weekend... it's in my head, but I haven't had time to flesh it out and get it down.

If only the game wasn't so fun, it would be a lot easier to find time to write!



Heya Fox-y...I just finished chapter 5 this morning. GREAT STUFF! I just hope you can pull yourself away from the game long enough to finish Chapter 6. I'm dying to know how it turns out. Okay...I already have an idea how it turns out, but I'm dying to know how you get there.