Ladies in Hades and the Dyval Wears Prada
Journal - Trent - Entry 26
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On our way out of the city to the tower we encountered a gate. I think Jescha called it the “Gate of Ishtar.” It was radiating magic and since I didn’t know how or why, I decided to make my own way out of the city. The others with me decided similarly. We walked to the tower through the desert, and it felt like days passed even though it should’ve been a short journey.
Turns out, days did pass. Somehow we spent six days walking through the desert. Time itself here seems to be screwed up – if I had been trusting my own temporal senses then I might have noticed this during the trip, and not after. But trusting my own senses means accepting that we’ve traveled into the past, something which I still believed was impossible. I do wonder though if the Time Barrier spell could lend some stability to the area? It’s unfortunate that even if it did, it would be short-lived – less than half an hour! Musings for another time I suppose.
The tower was very impressive up close. We encountered McGreggor AND the mysteriously disappeared Sowki, Pall Mall. He told us about this great place for a party that he had spent the last several days at. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the pleasures of the flesh as much as the next person (wink, Jesh), but I really didn’t feel this was the time or place to engage in such activities. It all seemed to addle his brain a bit as well, since he couldn’t even recall that the woman who led him away was wearing a crown! So basically, he spent six days fucking off instead of doing something useful. And now he has another servant, a woman who calls herself Bathsheba. I guessed he traded in Sonja for this girl? Who knew. They, along with everyone else, seemed eager to explore and investigate the tower. Well, we were there, and it wasn’t like we had any other leads to go on at that time, so we decided to check the place out.
Before we did, though, I finally remembered to give everyone the radios and comm gear I had acquired back in Lazlo. Now if we got separated again we could keep in touch. Together we entered the tower and found it empty, filled with cobwebs. We started searching around and ascending, but very quickly we lost James and McGreggor. It seemed they decided to climb the outside of the tower while we were working our way through the inside. Since we had the radios it didn’t seem like a big deal anymore.
We went up a few floors and found the cobwebs increasing in number and density. It seemed obvious we were likely walking into some sort of spider-creatures nest, so we remained on guard. Sure enough, we stumbled right into her. A huge Weaver spider-demon who called herself “Widow.” Without warning she attacked us psionically, and I’m ashamed to admit that I fell under the influence of her outpouring of emotion. Steve did too, it seemed, though Pall Mall remained resistant. We answered her questions about a man in the throne room and despite Pall Mall’s attempts to anger her by casting demon-repelling magic around her (she resisted, though many of her own smaller spider-minions did now), she allowed us to leave in peace as long as we did not bother her further.
So we kept moving up. It was a long climb (the tower is pretty tall) but as we got closer to the top we started finding something disturbing. The floors started becoming littered with seemingly alive, writhing, bloody tongues! As we neared the top, the floors became more full. I wonder now if it was that the number of tongues was actually increasing, or if the number remained constant and it was just the decreasing size of the floors that made it seem like the floors were more full? Regardless, it was fairly disorienting to me and kept me on edge. So when McGreggor and James broke the wall of the floor we were on and came after us, I over-reacted. I failed to recognize them since the blood from the tongues covered them from head to foot, and without thinking of the consequences I used a stored Shockwave charge from my talismen.
It obliterated all the tongues around us and nearly obliterated Pall Mall’s new servant girl, but he and Steve worked together to save her. I’m glad she was saved – once I calmed down and realized what I had almost done I was a little shaken. I need to get my shit under control here soon.
McGreggor and James had reached the top of the tower, where someone lay dead on the ground. We all made our way the rest of the way up there to see, and both James and Pall Mall seemed to recognize the body as that of a god named Marduk, dead with his tongue ripped out. We verified using cold iron (take nothing for granted anymore) and discovered it was an illusion! The real dead god was a woman the others realized was called Ishtar. I’m guessing the same Ishtar that gate I didn’t walk through was named after.
The body was on a pressure plate and after lifting off the body, McGreggor did his thing and broke the plate. Another shaft was revealed and Everyone but Pall Mall and I decided to travel down it. The reached a chamber after a while and were attacked by several spider-demons. But not Widow herself. That seemed odd.
Down below, McGreggor, James and Steve were fighting the creatures off and had found an unconscious Sonja trapped in a web! They freed her, defeated the creatures immediately threatening them, and came back to us. We discovered that SOnja was not actually Sonja at all, but another Pandemonium deevi! I quickly cast the Suspended Animation spell on her to keep her/it unconscious until we could have the time to deal with this. Getting back to the more immediate issues, I recalled that Widow was very interested when we told her about the man in the throne room. I cast a Locate spell to see where she was, and sure enough, I could feel her about halfway between the tower and the Ziggurat, and getting further away from us wth frightening speed.
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