After the group left the Fairy Carnival, Trent practically showered them all with Remove Curse spells in order to undo the more… lingering of the faerie food effects. His magnificent Energy Sphere was now but a pale shadow of its former splendor. As Trent took a few moments to recover and take stock of things, James came over to him and the two had a short conversation.
|“so…ive been meaning to speak with you but havent had time. i was originally gonna talk with you about my removing the bracelet and if i should or should not…but thats a moot point now. instead i want to ask you about the affects of the ppe curse…cuz after i took the bracelet off i started having these…i dunno..twinges in the back of my mind. i know im not as knowledgeable about magic as you are. but im pretty sure i dont use as much of it as you do. also…why is it when i was declared the winner of the fight against helldamn the announcer said James The Trailblazer of Hope. The god of Second Chances, the god of Final Battles, the god of Last Resort?|
|While Trent talks, he has a mask in his hands that he turns over, flips around and just absently fiddles with.
“I have some theories, but really no way to accurately test them. What I do know is that this plague hit the gods hard. It’s hitting us mortals in force now, but… well, my current working theory here is that the gods got the plague concentrated, unintentionally, by their worshipers. Those who would send prayers and such. Do the faithful really understand what they do? What if…”
“What if they’re sending the gods their own energy? By itself, that’s no problem – it’s what the gods demand, isn’t it? But then their worshiper’s energy tops back off… with the tainted energy of the magic plague. Now, next time they send their prayers, their thanks, their energy… they also send the infection. One, two, fifty… probably wouldn’t even matter. Hundreds? Thousands? More? How many people in the Megaverse revere ‘James of the Arena?’ When they shout your name in cheer, are they not, in effect, worshiping you? How many of them are tainted, and channeling their taint straight to you, into you?”
“Like I said, this is just one theory. Other theories? Maybe you’re just being affected so bad because the plague has gotten really bad recently, and by comparison I’m not affected as much because of the care I’ve been taking to avoid re-infection after my visit to Excedrin. Maybe you’re suffering so many signs because we’re moving deliberately closer to one of the machines? I did notice one of the gods in Excedrin’s cave was wearing a magical amulet to help stave off insanity. The fact that the god was there, lobotomized, wasn’t… hopeful.”
Trent suddenly looks thoughtful, but then scrunches his face as if he tasted something sour. Then he chuckles.
“What kind of ‘god’ calls himself ‘of the Arena,’ anyway? All the other gods have abandoned hope, left this problem to us mortals… except for you, now. You were given a second chance at godhood and took it, despite the risk. The last god, the one left at the end when all seems lost and the last battles are being fought. Listen… I’m not going to turn into one of your groupies here, make no mistake. But a god deserves a title that matters. I placed my bets in that fight very specifically on James Apolloson – the Trailblazer of Hope, the god of Second Chances, the god of Final Battles… and the god of Last Resort. I think you embody all of that James. You deserve it.”
|“hmmm…but there is a difference from being popular and worshiped. im not sure how many people have seen that fight, or the one i just had with ”/campaigns/ladies-in-hades-and-the-dyval-wears-prada/characters/helldamn-spellshroud-simonized" class=“wiki-content-link”>helldamn. but the fact remains its not the same. saying “james of the arena is badass! i wanna be just like him” is not the same as “james of the arena please bless us in this fight” . i see your point but…it scares me now. what if i become like them? me and phobos are the only 2 remaining of our pantheons…im still weak and hes…hes a different person. im not sure if i mentioned this to you but after our fight in the arena the 2nd time he was like a different person..he was..nice. incidentally he also gave me a gift. he would never do that normally! so what if i start to change? what if i become cruel and evil?"
james takes a moment and thinks…
“as for the name…hopefully i can live up to it. as i said im scared..of myself more then anything. yes i took off the bracelet..because i thought we where all going to die. if not for that i would never have done it. we have different enemy…and we both have very large targets painted on our backs now. how many people in the megaverse felt me ascend?”
james lets out a long sigh
“old saying..make your bed now sleep in it…and what is that mask ya fiddling with?”
|“You’re in a unique position now, compared to the others. You’re going into this already knowing about this plague and its effects. Monitor yourself for strange behaviors or thoughts – those are the signs. When no-one knew anything was wrong, that’s when these things went unnoticed and built up to such crippling proportions. We know about Excedrin, and his cost. I’ve made sure that it’ll be easy for us to go back, if necessary. When, I should say.”
“Most importantly… you’ve got us to watch your back. And Apollyestes, she’s known you longer than us – stay on her good side and I’m sure she’ll be certain to warn you if she notices something… well, I imagine in her mind it’ll be ‘more off than usual.’”
"All I know that we can do, we’re doing. As more of these machines get destroyed we should see and feel the taint lessen. This mask… it’s a reward from the carnival. I’m just mulling over what it ‘ cost’ me. And what being here, on this mission, is costing me. Has cost me. Has cost others…"
Trent suddenly stands up and puts the mask on. It molds into his face and leaves no trace of being there except for a strange ‘twinkle’ in his eyes.
“All we can do is keep moving forward, and make the most of our time today while we still can. How does it look?”
|“I guess you are right. We shall see what happens. Next is dealing with this axe. I need time to talk to him without apple..”
James looks quizzingly at Trent
“You look the same”
|“Well that’s good in its own right. I certainly don’t feel the same, though!” Trent clenches and unclenches his fists in awe
“And James, don’t worry. This plague scares us all. Next time I go into a Temporal Space to meditate I’ll have you come with me, if you wish, and we’ll see if we can do anything to lessen the plague’s build up on you.”
|“In my experience if ya put something on and it makes ya feel different it’s not a good thing. And yes I would like to come. Thank you as always my friend”|