Ladies in Hades and the Dyval Wears Prada
Journal - Trent - Entry 43
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For the moment my mind is clear. The ancient tree’s gift has lifted the fog from my mind so I can think clearly again. And it is now very clear to me just how much this taint on magical energy has affected my own mind. For example: Did I really search my apartment not an hour ago for hidden Coalition spy-cameras? I did.
I have spent all day writing up letters and narrating their contents verbally for those unable to read. Now I must decide – do I distribute these letters around the world? I of course will consult with my friends and allies. But for now, I must weigh the consequences against the benefits.
After giving it some serious thought, it is clear to me now that the benefits of posting this letter will outweigh the consequences. Also, many of those consequences will largely fall on me – by placing my name to this letter and preparing it myself I have made sure of that.
But what has led me to this point? I suppose where I left off was with our return to Lazlo, and the research I began to do in the guild regarding the super nexus points. This took some time, as it wasn’t just a simple task of pulling a specific book off of a shelf. I had to collect information from Ley-Line cartographers, overlay and sort out dozens of maps, and do favors for some of the members in order to even get any information out of them.
And the madness also slowed things down.
It’s subtle in some people, and could have easily been just dismissed as quirks. But knowing what I know, I can see what it really is. And in some of the beings… well, who am I to judge? I’m about as broke as the worst of them. The gnomish woman who runs this guild branch, she treated me to a speech about Psyscape and a psychic conspiracy, and ended our conversation with some song about Nxla being back. Jaena’s brother, Korbin, I ran into him as well. He called me “Doctor Logan,” but I have no idea why. Our conversation was pretty one-sided. He talked to me about the “element” of time and elements in general. He asked me to prove I wasn’t, in fact, a Temporal Warlock rather than a Temporal Wizard! Then he delved into a rant about chaos and red strings… I didn’t really follow but it was time for me to take my leave.
Until the madness overtook him, it was an interesting line of thought. I suppose my rebuttal to it is that I do not worship Time, I instead seek to master it. This is all a gross oversimplification of course; I don’t have enough room left in this journal to really delve into this.
During this time James asked for my help in getting that armor I gave him repaired by Jaena. Apparently he worked out a deal with her where if I came to work for her she would give him a significant discount. HA! Sorry James, I like you but not enough to betray the secrets of my craft just to save you some money. I did suggest to James that maybe he could barter that TW Shotgun I found back in that hatch in order to get a discount. That must have worked because I didn’t hear any more from him about that.
James. He somehow managed to join the magic guild! Maybe someday I’ll ask him how he maneuvered that. I imagine the madness probably had a factor in that. Also speaking of new recruits, I met an interesting person at the magic guild. He calls himself “Zander” and he has some strange, yet useful abilities. Not the least of which is to copy certain types of magic! I reacted a little badly to him initially but since then he’s become an invaluable member of our group.
More on that later.
Through all this research in the guild, I discovered the following major nexus points that may contain portals:
: New Calgary, Windsor in old Detroit, old Century Station city (specific location unknown!), Miami in old Florida, Seattle in old Washington, The St. Louis Archway, East St. Louis ruins, In the magic zone of the Ohio Valley.
: Uxmal in the Yucatan and Mexico City in Mexico.
: The Devils Triangle, Macchu Pichu, and the Andes Mountains Nexus.
: The Bermuda Triangle points in and along Puerto Rico, Haiti, Bermuda, Cuba and Miami.
: Stonehenge in Britain, Macs Howe in Scotland, Newgrange in Ireland, Freiburg in Breisgau in the Black Forest of Germany, The Standing Stones of Carnac in France
: The Pyramid of Giza
: The Boiling Sea in Russia, and at least one more somewhere within the Mists of China.
: The island of Rapa Nui, The “Island of Doctor Vilde (specific location unknown!), Angkor Wat in old Cambodia, the Prambanan Temple Complex in old Indonesia, the Gunung Mulu forest in old Malaysian Borneo
Old Detroit wasn’t too far away, so I planned for us to all go “visit” that one while we could still possibly expect the element of surprise to be on our side. I also lined up through McGreggor’s company, “Pyrewood Ops,” to hire one of their resident mechanical experts to accompany us not only to the portal, but also through the portal to so they could examine the machine itself! I wanted to know what these machines are, and what they are doing.
Pall Mall, Steve and McGreggor were all busy attending to their own affairs. When the Pyrewood Ops person arrived (a psychic woman named Bex), I paid her fees and also discovered that Zander worked for their organization too! I offered him a fee to accompany us (of course I “checked” them out to make sure neither of them was a disguised Deevil), rented a travelling vehicle and set out towards the portal at Windsor.
We arrived to witness some sort of battle, between Deevils, Demons, and what appeared to be super humans! (I’ve actually seen one occasionally fly around Lazlo – he wears red and blue and I have no idea what he can do besides fly really fast and create sonic booms. Maybe I will look into recruiting him to this cause eventually). We observed the battle briefly but worried that we would attract their attention and become embroiled in it. I used magic to get us close to the portal and Zander mimicked it in order to get us through the Deevil portal and into Dyval itself!
Looking back on it, I see so many mistakes that were made during our planning and execution, and we very nearly paid the ultimate price for most of them. Among them, we were unprepared for the portal transporting us above the giant, house-sized machine! We were also unprepared for the squad of Deevils standing guard, just waiting for someone or something to come through. I won’t narrate the fine details of our battle. We were ultimately successful; the machine was destroyed, Bex got to psionically delve the machine, and we escaped with our lives. I’ve already put plans in motion to make future assaults easier.
We definitely let the cat out of the bag here with our ineptitude, though. A Baal-Rog Demon followed after us through the portal, and noticed the Deevils and their machine. Though the Deevils destroyed him, he will only re-form in Hades and report back to his master. Our own attack drew a Deevil Lord to the scene as well, so our hopes for stealthily taking these devices out without the Deevils expecting us will only happen if we can manage to time-travel again.
I managed to transport us back to Lazlo; I lost the deposit on the vehicle I borrowed. Bex took her leave in order to digest and write up what she discovered into a more formal report. Her quick response though: The machine has been running for over 300 years! Doing the math and looking at some history files puts it as being turned on around the time of the pre-rifts timeframe of their “World War 2.” She also told us the machine was absorbing small amounts of magical energy, and using some of that energy to sustain the portal. It was designed to store this energy and eventually release it all back at once.
Once Bex left I asked James and Zander for their help. I had heard a long time ago about a psychic in Africa, near the city of Rama in the Phoenix Empire, who could help with mental issues. James was very nervous about going there but I offered him the extra Deevil amulet in order to disguise himself – the one I always wear would serve for my needs, of course. I knew that I needed to start doing something about my own mental condition. Plus, things the tree had said to me after it did its own diagnosis worried me greatly. Was it right?
I paid the guild and teleported to Rama. I morphed into a disguise, backed up by illusionary magic (two can play this game, Deevils!) and found a discreet place in the city to bring the others over. We made our way through the city and then James was able to use his skills to track down where this mind doctor resides.
We arrived, and saw a Pucaran Mind Mage who was quite possibly the most pleasantly arrogant being I’ve ever met. He held all the cards and he knew it. It amused him. His home was a cave, and in the back were lobotomized gods strung up. He claimed they were displayed as reminders to him of past failures, but in a different conversation later he revealed that the gods strung up had failed to offer him proper payment for the services they wished him to render. This made them more of an ominous warning, but I came prepared.
The Pucaran (he called himself “Excedrin” – if that’s a joke, then I don’t get it) claimed to have all the wealth he needed, and was only interested in the rare, exotic, and interesting. He refused to discuss the details of my payment up front, however. He treated us to a dinner seemingly made from his own kind. I think I failed to mention he practiced Cannibalism magic? When we arrived he was actually in the pot amongst the body parts he was simmering. But what other choice did I have? The leaves of the Millennium Tree would only be a temporary solution, and I knew my mental condition had degraded – even worse, it seemed as if my mental quirks were similar to the Past/Future/Alternate Trent! I don’t wish my own journal to look like his did, and I don’t want my quest to end up as futile as his.
So in front of this strange, inhuman creature, I bared myself and willingly lay upon the stone slab he used as an operating table in order to let him pierce my brain with a magical, astral scalpel, and cut out my insanities.
There’s a phrase I heard once, I can’t quite recall it, but it would explain this decision simply. Basically, in adverse circumstances actions which might have been rejected under other situations become acceptable, or even preferred. Something to that effect.
I’d like to say the surgery went well, and that I was able to feel normal again upon its completion. But the fact that I’m chewing this leaf in order to write and think clearly indicates that no, it was not the resounding success I had hoped for. As we began the surgery of course, that’s when the Pucaran decided to discuss the particulars of how I would pay for his services. One of the rune items I plundered from the basement of the Tower of Babel, I had already decided, would be what I would use to pay for his services if money wasn’t an option. Satisfied, the Pucaran went to work but encountered surprises within my mind that, according to him, nearly cost me my mind. What he revealed, that parts of my mind had been heavily tampered with, and others missing, definitely confirmed what the Millennium Tree told me.
Excedrin did say the surgery was at least a partial success, and that in a few weeks I should come back to see him. He liked the rune item I provided to him so much that he said it would also cover the next two visits! Well, we’ll see about that. Maybe once I catch up with Pall Mall again I’ll return, and the two of us can finally put this madness behind us and move forward again, for the good of the Megaverse.
Upon our return to Lazlo James, Zander and I all did some brainstorming regarding those Deevil machines and realized that all these devices, if they released all their energy at once, at the right time, they could trigger another coming of the rifts! Of course, in a world where there were already Rifts, what would be the effect? Destruction of the world? Maybe even the entire Megaverse? This required a favorable celestial configuration of course, and I do know a little astronomy, so I quick figured that we had about three years or so until this “right time” celestially would came along.
This runs so fucking deep. This isn’t even just about the taint on magical energy anymore. We received a countdown to the end of the world. Maybe even the end of the multiverse! Why? Because the re-energization of magical energy (as evidenced by the eruption of the Ley Lines) helped “absorb” the impact of the sudden surge of magical energy. And even that was a cataclysmic event that nearly extinguished the human race. If something like that happened again, when the world was already full of magical energy… the results could literally be catastrophic. At a minimum the Earth would likely tear itself apart. But all that energy spilling out through the Rifts across the multiverse… Nowhere would be safe.
All bets are off. This leads me back to how I started this entry. I decided to write a letter. I folded a copy into this journal. But it is time to warn the world. Warn the Megaverse, even. My companions and I, we cannot stop this threat alone. Our experiences in Windsor proved that. Each successive attack will only be harder. We need allies. Or at least, like-minded individuals who share this goal with us – this goal to destroy these machines.
I won’t post this letter right away. I know I want to post it, I am sure of it now, but I need to discuss with my allies first before I do this. Even though I will bear the brunt of the consequences, those who are close to me or who travel with me will likely be caught up in them as well. I also have some theories to meditate on, concerning the nature of this taint and how it affects us. There is always so much to do, and never enough time.
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