Ladies in Hades and the Dyval Wears Prada
Journal - Trent - Entry 56
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The last couple of days… the last month… both happened at the same time, and were definitely… interesting.
Magnus had us stop so we could have the opportunity to examine something buried underground. He had felt it many times before, but I think it was a combination of what happened with the temple, and that something felt off to him this time, that he brought this to our attention. So what was it?
A hatch, leading to a buried scientific laboratory seemingly dedicated to the study of magic and techno-wizardry. What’s that saying? Déjà vu all over again? The similarities to the hatch we encountered in North America were startling. I used a Mystic Portal spell to get us into the hatch and we actually ended up inside of a hollowed-out Iron Juggernaut! We left it and entered the hatch proper and investigated. The place had been abandoned for some time, but it was also obvious the previous residents had packed up and left, leaving little behind of value.
Zander said the hatch itself seemed to be from his time – meaning it was pre-cataclysm! There was even, impossibly, an old “NEMA” serial number etched into the husk of the Iron Juggernaut. But the whole place had obviously been used to study magic, and there was a note about receiving the Iron Juggernaut from “the Americans” – they called it a “Trojan Horse.” James was able to find another scientific log from one of the previous tenants. Helldamn found a bunch of techno-wizard items that he pocketed (just like Pall Mall would have done – the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree there!). We were unsuccessful in restoring power to the place so this time I carefully removed the hard drives from the computers left behind in this place, in order to find a way to review them at a later date and time.
This was pretty weird, and raised some disturbing thoughts – especially when I consider it against the first hatch we found in North America, and the letter that Boz wrote to me. But that is a mystery for another time. We had a continent to cross so we went back on our way. We didn’t travel too much longer before I felt a dimensional portal nearby – right in front of us! It was actually moving in the direction we were heading. Helldamn and I weren’t sure about going into it, but then Zander and James went in, so we eventually followed. Rugar stayed behind.
I hope I actually get to see my truck again, someday.
Inside the portal was a pocket dimension, we learned, and it was populated with all manner of Fae, who turned it into a carnival! Weirdly, this was the answer we had been seeking! The flow of time was slower in here, and the portal moved steadily in the direction we were heading, so if we spent about two days in this place we’d be able to leave and arrive near our destination! If I believed the gods would actually deliver something like this to us, and if I believed there were any gods left worth believing in (there’s James, but… no. Not yet, anyway)… but no, sometimes random luck is random luck. You don’t examine the engine of a gifted hovercycle, and when a faerie carnival appears right when you need one and offers to give you two days of relaxing “fun” while relieving you of the need to do a month’s worth of travel… you take it.
The place had a strange system that basically involved letting the Fae have fun with you at your expense, and they they “rewarded” you by allowing you to participate in games and earn prizes. Over two days, I did my share of “fun” activities. I even got to watch Helldamn and James fight! It’s amazing that Helldamn seemed to be almost equally skilled as James at fighting – Pall Mall certainly was no fighter like that! James won of course, and I earned some money (I bet on him in this instance).
Specifically, I bet on James as James Apolloson – the Trailblazer of Hope, the god of Second Chances, the god of Final Battles, and the god of Last Resort. The demigodling is suppossedly a god now – he not only needs to start acting like it, but he deserves a worthy title. And if I waited for him to come up with his own I would probably die of old age first.
Old age… There’s no way I will live long enough to make it to “old age,” but that’s not anyone else’s concern but my own. And maybe the Enclave’s… wherever they are now.
I met a fortuneteller in the carnival who tried to feed me some bull about my brother’s spirit. I left because the stuff she said made no sense, so it was obvious she was faking. But I did have it on good authority she could send letters, so I gave her the ones for Nº One and ’Cady to at least send. I have hope they made it to their destinations.
One “game” in particular, I had to give up my “most valuable possession” in order to enter. Choosing my most valuable possession wasn’t hard, but parting with it was surprisingly harder than I expected. The amulet talisman I made with Jescha, that had her magical energy inside of it, I finally gave that up. I almost didn’t, but with all the crap about her from all those letters, and my talks with Nº One… We’re definitely done. Whether or not I go to try and save her is a question that will only be answered in time.
(Hahaha! Get it? IN TIME? Well, you will get it if I get to do what I hope to, which I will write about in later entries.)
For my “sacrifice” I played their game, and earned the right to request a prize. There were limits, but I didn’t take too long to recall a legend of an item which could help protect me, give me additional abilities, and in general just increase my chances of survival. I received a fabled “Angel Mask of Mystery.” This thing is everything I hoped for, and more. Other games were duds, a few of them provided other prizes as well, but none as valuable as this mask.
I’m not sure if I can call her a “prize” just yet, but I was informed that one game would offer a faerie in a bottle as the prize. Why this set my blood boiling so much, I’m not sure. I don’t like the idea in the best of circumstances, but to hear other Fae just talk about such an abomination so nonchalantly… Well I played that game until I beat it, and claimed the “prize.” I promptly smashed open the bottle (it looked like a Splugorthian Bio-Wizard faerie bottle, and that only added to the anger) right in front of them and freed the trapped Faerie. I offered her asylum with our group for the time being, but told her she was free to leave when she wished. She was still a bit disoriented but I could tell she was eager to not stick around her kin. So for now this Faerie, who calls herself “Zelda,” will be travelling with us.
Only time will tell if I will regret this or not.
Our two days ended both too soon and not soon enough. Myself, Zander, Helldamn and James exited the Fae Carnival much richer than when we entered it, and right where we hoped to be! There was no sign of Magnus, Rugar or my truck so after I liberally applied the spell to Remove Curses to myself and our companions, I retreated into this Time Hole in order to replenesh my magic reserves and build another Energy Sphere. My companions will stay near the area, waiting for Magnus and Rugar. I’ll only be gone for about a day at most (from their time-frame), so I don’t expect too much of an issue.
Before I came in here, I had an very… honest conversation with James. He confided in me some of his worries and fears regarding his own sanity and this magical energy plague. It affected the other “gods,” and he was worried, based on both mine and Pall Mall’s descriptions of the onset of symptoms, that he would succumb to it as well. I have some theories, but not a lot of ways to test them at this time. Plus, as a “god,” how can I insulate him from the energy of his worshipers? Even if I can help him to cleanse the tainted energy from him, as he naturally gathers the energy of his followers he will just get re-infected. But as a “god,” can he NOT do that and survive?
I hate to admit that I know so little in this regard, so of course I didn’t. But over the next few days as I spend this time in seclusion and meditation, maybe I can conceive of a possible solution. I mean, after all, if he goes crazy, who’s going to teach me how to properly wield Lytsong in combat? I don’t care what he’s calling himself, I will not in any way become indebted to the Sowki. And neither Zander nor Rugar have shown any skill in that regard. No, James needs to stay sane – at least until I’ve grasped the basics and can then work to improve on my own.
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