Ladies in Hades and the Dyval Wears Prada
Journal - Trent - Entry 46
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The short-short story: It’s Pall Mall’s fault.
NOW the long story. Posting the letters and audio disks at the Magic Guilds around the world went without incident, but was also expensive. With that accomplished I met with Steve, James and Pall Mall back in Lazlo. We decided to head back to Africa in order to see Excedrin and to scope out the Nexus point there. I wanted to give Excedrin’s surgery one more try, and I wanted Pall Mall to have a shot at seeing him too. OF COURSE I informed Pall Mall of this being’s price, but the arrogant Sowki always knows better! Zander joined us again as well, his month of service to the guild finished and he had picked up many of the tech items I had sent him out to find!
These items, they were fairly critical to my plans. The next time we encounter one of the devil rifts (I had hoped it would be in Africa), I’m just going to pull out this missile launcher and fire the full clip of fragmentation missiles through the rift! It’s hard to miss when you spray an entire area with fragmentary explosives. This is the sort of direct tactic my brother would have appreciated.
When that tactic fails to work anymore (and yes, I will take any illusions into account – I have plenty of cold iron for just that occasion) and we have to go the direct route again, I have the magic, talismen, scrolls and technology to make a small strike force virtually undectable by the Deevils and their minions. Unless they’re using technology as well, but I’m fairly confident that no self-respecting Deevil would ever stoop that low. With these tactics we should be able to get several of the devices destroyed. Once we finally get to the nexus points, that is.
James wasn’t too thrilled about going back to the Phoenix Empire, and enthusiastically assured us that he was absolutely NOT doing it for Pall Mall’s benefit. I transported us near Excedrin’s place, and there we split up – Pall Mall and I went to visit the Pucaran, while the rest of them went to investigate the pyramids at Giza, were one of the greatest Nexus points was supposed to be.
My visit with the Mind Mage went a lot better than before – he put on the same theatrics, of course, but this time when I came out of the surgery I felt noticeably different. The pressures in my head, the need to drown myself in alcohol, and the migraines that thinking about the Coalition produced – all gone. After my surgery I went to examine the lobotomized gods more closely and saw one of them was wearing a magical amulet for protection against insanity. I had considered tracking down one myself, but didn’t feel it would be as helpful as I hoped. Seeing it on this relic of a god proved I was right.
Pall Mall apparently couldn’t come to an agreement with Excedrin. I tried to offer up some ideas but honestly, the Sowki can look out for himself. I’m sure he had some interesting trinkets that he could have parted with if he really wanted to. Oh well, his loss. I’m sure as fuck not paying for him. Then the sonofabitch tries to steal some fucking silverware from the Pucaran? I should have just left him there.
By the inescapable boundaries of Time, I should have just left him there. How many have died because I chose to keep his company with us?
We met back up with Zander, Steve and James, and their description of the Demons guarding the pyramids of Rama-Set made me realize we were not prepared to deal with that portal and machine just yet. At least, not from this side. So I took us back to North America, specifically to Calgary.
Why Calgary? I wish my explanation made as much sense to me now as it did then.
I recalled after I posted the letters everywhere that there was actually a portal to Dyval left in Calgary, below where the infamous Calgary Rift used to be. I had crossed that location off of my list when I wrote it out. I felt that we needed to actually go there and deal with the Rift, since my letter would lead others to believe it was already handled.
So we arrived in Calgary again. The city, while still ruined, was no longer a Demon haven and instead was populated with refugees, working to put the city back into working order – I think I mentioned that before? This wasn’t my first re-visit to the city. When we arrived at the area where the Demons and Deevils had been fighting, there was no sign of continued combat. There was also no sign of the Deevil portal I remembered.
I should note here, that we took the human manifestation of that greatest rune weapon here with us. Have I writ about him yet in this journal? Briefly, if memory serves. But he had “awakened” again and we took him with us on this journey because he could sense three of his “brothers and sisters” in this dimension, on this world. We thought we’d have him periodically point out the direction from where he felt them, and by having that data from different locations around the world we’d be able to fairly accurately pin down where those weapons were! I’ll come back to that later.
Using magic, I did get to finally witness first hand the dimensional anomaly that Pall Mall had mentioned to me before, where it seemed as if the entire Calgary nexus and connecting ley lines had been shoved into a pocket dimension, which was itself just a Dimensional-Step removed from this dimension. Together Pall Mall, Zander and I examined and probed that dimensional space which was full of the roiling, compressed magical energy of an entire ley line nexus. We didn’t discover much more about the pocket dimension than we already knew.
And that was when it happened.
Pall Mall mused about cancelling the magic that had created this dimensional pocket-space – then began to cast one of his more favorite spells, the Anti-Magic Cloud. Not knowing exactly what would happen, but figuring it would probably be bad, I raced back to reality and back to James and Steve, who were still waiting for us to return. I grabbed them both and said there was no time to explain, just come with me. Then I activated my Talisman of Winking Out. I cut it close, but we made it in time. Once in the small, time-slowed pocket dimension I explained to the two of them that I didn’t know exactly what might have occurred if we had stayed, but that I didn’t want to risk it. We waited only a little while, and then I brought us back out to reality.
To a shattered reality.
That may be a bit melodramatic. But I stood upon a hillside not too long ago, and witnessed the coming of the Rifts upon Earth in its past. The chaos ensuing at that moment was nothing compared to the ley-line energy storm we re-materialized back into. The devastation was immense; the dead were everywhere. We three appeared to be the only living things as far as we could tell inside this seething, raging storm of furious energy. My mystic senses were assaulted by the unleashed energy clashing all around. Every second we remained there was dangerous to us all. But I had to know what happened.
Not just what happened to Pall Mall and Zander, but to Gazi as well! I could only bring two beings with me into the Wink Out, and I chose to take my companions rather than the living rune weapon. A weapon and being who, upon our examination of the area, could not be located – I did find the spot where the blast apparently burned his shadow into the environment, but not him/it.
That’s when Zander calmly walked over to us, the energy of the storm raging around and through him as if it just couldn’t (or wouldn’t?) touch him. He lost his shadowed look and seemed vibrant. He didn’t know exactly what transpired after Pall Mall cast his spell, since the shockwave of that event affected him as well and took him until now to recover.
I didn’t dare cast my spell to see Visions of the Past within this raging energy vortex, but what choice did I have? Zander offered a better option – he could do that himself, since he was unaffected by this chaos, and he could use the TW Thought Projector I had to show us what his vision would see. Not wanting to waste out time I readily agreed. His vision was telling indeed! What happened to Pall Mall, we still couldn’t’ tell. But Gazi? After the energy was unleashed we clearly saw him revert to weapon form, and watched as an archfiend wearing a rune robe picked it up and disappeared.
I knew what we needed to know, and I transported us to the outskirts of Lazlo as quickly and carefully as I could, to get out of that den of death and unbridled magical energy gone wild.
What actually happened when Pall Mall cast that spell? It’s only now, after these events have transpired and I reflect upon them, that I think I can piece it together. Pall Mall finished casting his spell, which destroyed the fragile dimensional space in which the Ley line Nexus and all the connecting Ley Lines had been somehow imprisoned. At that moment, it wasn’t just the energy of a super-powerful nexus, ley lines, and rift that was released back upon the world. It was also all the energy of Athena, released upon her death, that was also trapped and released. That energy fed into the now-restored nexus and ley lines and created the chaotic devastation we witnessed, destroying Pall Mall’s spell and, by all rights, the Sowki as well.
How far that shockwave travelled I really don’t know. I surmise it would have travelled at least as far as the ley lines feeding the nexus; maybe even further. Everything within that radius was almost certainly destroyed. This was a death blow to Calgary and the surrounding area. How many innocents were killed by this madman’s mistake? How many more will suffer? How long before the raging energy will even calm down? None of these thoughts passed through my mind at that time. Even Pall Mall was only a thought in the back of my mind. I was already sure that being at ground zero of this apocalyptic event would have been enough to end his existence, and I had another problem occupying my mind.
Baaz. The time-damned archfiend was interfering with us again, and I was seething over it. I informed my companions to brace themselves, as I intended to summon the Archfiend and make him answer for his interference. Despite my anger I didn’t intend to call him forth in order to fight him, although I felt that was likely what would occur. But I had intended to demand the return of Gazi, and an explanation for why he dared to interfere.
My companions and I prepared to face this creature potentially in bloody battle, and I began to call him forth using the forbidden Id Self spell. In the middle of casting it, however, I was disturbed by the arrival of a Magical Pigeon carrying a note directed to my attention.
I destroyed it, so I cannot include it in this journal. But it was a missive from Baaz, informing me that he had saved not only Gazi, but Pall Mall as well, and we should take better care of them in the future. He also informed me that we destroyed something which had taken him years to plan out. Included was complex mathematical notation which I recognized as being dimensional coordinates.
Instead of casting the Id Self spell, I instead bore through the dimensional boundaries with the Mystic Portal spell in order to connect to the dimensional coordinates Baaz listed in his letter. When the spell resolved, sure enough, there was Pall Mall lying on the floor of a small inter-dimensional space, neatly wrapped in a bow. Next to him was the artifact we knew as Gazi, wrapped similarly. My anger subsided slightly, and I decided against summoning Baaz and instead rescued the two from this dimensional sanctuary.
After I verified their identities using the Dragon’s Eye gem, and cold iron, of course.
I am puzzled by Baaz’s actions here, but for now I have let it be. When Pall Mall came to he couldn’t remember anything, and was calling himself Helldamn Spellshroud again. Fine, be that way.
As I stated, I don’t know how far the devastation travelled, or how “hot” the North American continent might be for me (or us) right now, so I fell back to plan B – go overseas to either Russia, China or South America and start hunting for the nexus point there. That also worked out with the artifact sensing/locating we were trying to do with Gazi. Despite us all being on edge due to the unexpected death-defying encounter we just had, we all discussed this plan and quickly agreed to go to Russia. We then travelled to Russia, near the guild branch I had visited just that morning.
And that’s why I ran away, and how we ended up in Russia.
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