Ladies in Hades and the Dyval Wears Prada
Journal - Trent - Entry 47
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We arrived in a city known as Minsk. I provided my companions and I the effects of the Tongues spell so we could understand the natives here. I slipped away from my companions for a bit, in order to gain some information on this area from the locals. What quickly became apparent was that there was a “Warlord” who was the major power in this area, and his encampment was in the city. If we wanted any technology or information on the location of this ley line nexus or the continent at all, then we would have to go see him.
Let me tell you, it’s fucking cold here in Russia! Before we separated I gave James some money in order to buy us cold weather winter gear – another example of failing to be properly prepared before heading somewhere. Will I ever learn to “look before I leap?” Probably not. We reconvened and I gladly accepted the warmer clothing that James had procured. Pall Mall was no longer with us, but after what he did in New Calgary I was glad to have some time away from him.
Steve, Zander, James and I went to the Warlord’s encampment. Warlord Seriyev is his name, apparently. We were denied access and almost got in a fight due to the frightful, demonic appearance of Steve’s armor! But Steve managed to convince them that he was merely wearing “American brand power armor,” and that it was the equal or better to any Russian equipment. Even this didn’t let us in, until someone brought up sharing vodka, and suddenly we were treated like long lost cousins and welcomed into the camp by Warlord Seriyev himself!
Warlord Seriyev struck me as a smooth, suave and sophisticated gentleman. It wasn’t immediately obvious, but after some observation it was clear the man was at least a partial cyborg, with cybernetic and bionic limbs and organs. He shared vodka with us and after listening again to Steve’s boast, offered to host a small challenge between the “American” power armor and one of his best Russian war machines. Steve readily accepted, and we moved to a small makeshift arena.
Steve drew Conan, his greatest Rune Weapon, and attacked the Russian machine in a sudden blur of motion and rage. Organic and mechanical missiles went flying and it became very quickly apparent that Steve was more than a match for this machine – he was literally tearing it apart. Oddly, the Russian stopped fighting back after a while, but I’m not sure why. Even at the time, I just calmly accepted what was going on, and it’s only now that I’m wondering what that was about. The whole place was excitedly watching, betting, cheering, then suddenly everyone just… calmed down. Like a wave of pacification swept through the area, affecting everyone. Everyone, that is, except for Steve, who became fully lost in his berserker frenzy.
Once the war machine was soundly beaten Steve, with no more enemies to fight, finally calmed down. Everyone broke out of their trance at that time and the Warlord invited us to dine and feast with him and his men. There he would talk more with us about our purpose here in “Mother Russia” and the information we were asking for.
The dinner banquet was huge, and delicious. We talked about the Minion War with Seriyev and told him we were here in order to travel to a major nexus point somewhere here in Russia. He gave us an idea of where it could be – he had heard of one practically on the other side of Russia, in the old pre-Rifts country of Mongolia. We discussed bartering for his aid in travelling across the country to get there, which he found amusing. He offered us some small measure of aid but not now, in the middle of the celebration. In the morning.
The Warlord told us stories about some Russians named Rasputin and Crazy Ivan. Zander seemed wildly interested, but I was only half listening by now. I used the Dragon’s Eye gem to scan the room, making sure everything really was as it seemed. That’s when I spotted a Deevil disguised as one of the servers. I didn’t see any other creatures so I tried to smoothly and subtly entrap the creature, and use it to help lend credibility to the very real danger of the Minion War. Seriyev had acted like it didn’t matter here in Russia, that it wouldn’t affect or touch him or his territory, but there was one of the creatures here right now!
Also, why was it here right now? What was it doing?
I made the mistake of trying to give a heads up to Steve, that one of the Deevils was here and before I could share much more of my plan out he whipped himself up into a frenzy again and began to seriously itch for a fight. I tried to convince him to remain calm for at least a little while and then when the Deevil was near me I subtly cast the spell Words of Truth on it, then interrupted Seriyev and Zander in order to direct Zander’s natural curiosity towards this creature, who was now bound to speak the truth.
Zander saw it for its true form, of course, even though no-one else could, so when he started asking it questions the creature was naturally thrown off. Seriyev was confused as to why we interrupted him to focus on this random nobody of a servant. It’s too bad that, for all their technology and cybernetics, they couldn’t see that there was something odd with this “person.” The Deevil was put on the defensive and answered a few of Zander’s questions truthfully, but to my surprise he managed to avoid answering some of them as well. Steve was getting antsy to fight the thing – he nearly broke the table in half in frustration! Before we could do much more the creature teleported away.
Seriyev seemed to finally understand that something was up, and we re-iterated the dangers of the Minion War. He took that information a little more soberly this time but then the party and the antics all resumed, as if this minor “interruption” hadn’t even occurred. The Warlord finished his story and Zander excused himself to retire early. Turned out, Zander left to go investigate the Deevil imposter and managed to find the room where the creature had been staying.
Zander told us later that someone began speaking to him in that room, believing Zander to be the Deevil in another disguise. The speaker asked if Zander had gotten the Warlord’s item yet, and Zander said he was working on it. They agreed to meet later and once Zander was sure this speaker wasn’t around anymore, he radioed back to us to ask us what Seriyev might have that beings such as this would want to steal.
By this time Pall Mall had returned from whatever he had been up to and rejoined with us. We asked the Warlord Zander’s question, and he took us to a secret missile silo he kept hidden in under an arena nearby. Inside was a pre-rifts nuclear missile! In the area around the missile the Warlord had been mining for radioactive metals he could use to re-weaponize the nuclear missile, which he was finding along with a bunch of other rare metals that he couldn’t care less about. Amongst the rare metals was Kisentite! I tried to impress upon the Warlord that this stuff was valuable and ultra-rare, but he only really cared about his uranium. He said they “throw the rest away, and someone comes to take it away every few days.”
After we left the silo, we all reconvened in the arena. It was late morning by now and the Warlord’s party was dying down. Everyone else in the camp was going to bed so anything more we wanted to do would have to wait until morning. That’s when the speaker Zander heard previously re-appeared. We readied for a fight but the speaker had some dimension-hopping powers and before we could really do anything to him he figured out our ruse and disappeared.
That’s when I used one of the weird spells Jescha had taught me to follow him. It let me “hitch a ride” on his dimensional travel. I guess Zander either did something similar, or copied what I did as well, because we both arrived in a strange dimensional room together, in front of a bunch of bewildered superhumans. I used the Aura of Power spell to give me an edge in dealing with these unknown beings.
They did a bit of showing off with their powers, trying to impress or intimidate us, but I did my best not to act impressed. I demanded to know what they were doing. They claimed to be part of the “Church of Unity” and they claimed to be behind the Deevil we outed earlier. One of them summoned a Beast right in front of us! It seemed the kid we followed there had an ability to alter the permeability of the dimensional fabrics, and it somehow even affected time travel! I know this because the kid was accused of keeping his fellow superhuman from summoning the Beast on the first try, and because I tried to use a Time Slip but the spell couldn’t resolve.
It was tough to keep my resolve in such a situation, but I think I bluffed my way through it well enough. It helped that Zander did most of the talking. I chastised them for being pawns of the Deevils – of course, in their arrogance, they thought they were the ones in control. I really didn’t feel like we had time for this and after another round of bantering and pointless posturing they “let us go” but seemed to think that we would get whatever this “thing” was that they were looking for. To be honest, it sounded like one of the greatest rune weapons, one of which of course we had with us, but I certainly didn’t tell them that! Whatever they are here for, they are just another wild card in this whole business and I’ll just have to keep an eye out for them.
When Zander and I returned James informed us that Pall Mall and Steve took off to go find the nexus we were planning to travel to. I thought, good. They can clear the way – if they can even find it. I had the maps from my research at the guild, and I had the data from Gazi which would point out where the artifacts he could sense were, and although I needed to get some local updates, I didn’t think they’d make it too far on their own.
The three of us retired for the remainder of the night, with the plans to reconvene in the morning. My to-do list:
1. Follow-up with the warlord in obtaining a vehicle that can carry us through the frozen Russian wilderness
2. Find out what he’s doing with his “scrap” metals, and if the Warlord insists they are so worthless then he shouldn’t mind me taking a bunch of it – especially that Kisintite!
3. Make sure we have the provisions we need to do a cross-country trek.
4. Get our maps in order and updated with the local information.
5. Start working out, based on the directions where Gazi senses his “brothers and sisters,” where in the world the other three items are that he can sense.
And now that I’ve written all that, it’s finally time for me to meditate for the last couple of hours before dawn.
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