Ladies in Hades and the Dyval Wears Prada
Journal - Trent - Entry 57
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They say no plan survives contact with the enemy. While I know that to be true, I can also say that no plan survives contact with my allies.
The last time we took out a Deevil chaos generator (journal entry #43) it was a disaster that nearly cost us our lives. I planned my change in tactics and all I needed from my companions was for them to wait for a day.
Just. One. Fucking. Day.
By the immutable laws of time, can someone tell me WHY that is so much to ask? We trekked across the Russian continent and endured the whims of the Fey for days in order to arrive at Mongolia, where the nexus we came to find was. I slipped into a Time Hole in order to recharge my magic and build up my energy spheres. When I came out, there was no sign of James, Helldamn or Zander. Only Rugar, finally arriving on the scene after his long month of travel.
We surveyed the scene together, really taking it all in. The nexus we came to find was about a mile from the shore, and we were only a relatively short distance from that shore. This nexus… it was the largest nexus, with the most number of Ley Lines connecting into it that I had ever seen. The only thing between us and that Nexus was the Chaos of a battle raging as far as the eye could see. Demons versus Deevils. Superhumans versus Supernatural. And Chaos Demons versus everything, including each other.
Not knowing what happened to my companions I made preparations to enact my plan. I started by summoning up a thick fog, one that would last for hours and prevent anyone or thing from seeing more than a few feet in front of them. Perfect for letting me sneak up to the nexus and the Deevil portal. I checked my inventory and weaponry, and made sure Rugar was ready to support me with the long range weaponry on the truck if necessary.
That’s when I felt the Mystic Alarm that I had given Zander go off.
These Mystic Alarm contact cards… have I ever really talked about them? The first time I had this idea, I very specifically set it up with Nº One such that the object I warded was to be left undisturbed in a dimensional pocket, and that IF he were to disturb it then I would know to meet him at a pre-determined place. It was very similar to the way that Tr’nalith set up for us to contact him if needed… well, before the insanity took him anyway. These days I wouldn’t dare try to contact the Raider. He’s become too unstable.
I never really gave this system much more thought, until the day that Pall Mall… or was he Helldamn at that time? Either one I guess. Until the day that the Sowki cast Mystic Alarm on a freaking stick and gave it to that guy we met from Wormwood in France, with instructions to “break it to contact him.” I would have normally thought such a use was impossible – who would have ever thought I’d learn a creative use of a spell from the mad Sowki who keeps my company?
I gave this some thought, and came to the conclusion the Sowki must have been intending to “hone in” on the alarm feeling the Mystic Alarm creates, in order to teleport or transport to its location. Ingenious! Without a second thought I modified my intentions and began to do the same, only with more style of course! I created decorative cards… I think once upon a time they were called “business cards?” I comissioned the creation of clear, thin covers which could then encapsulate the card. On these cards I cast the Mystic Alarm, and I then placed the card in the protective case.
I keep about a dozen of these on me and so far I’ve given out several. Let’s see… Who has one? So far it would be The Deacon Karr (an early version), Tyvernos Orriflame, Solomon Kane, Nº One, Jescha Harwynn, Sonja the Valkyrie,
’Cady Tybus, Gary of the House of Gary in the ‘Splicers’ dimension, Steve of the House of Steve in this dimension (last I knew), The Millenium Tree I visited in England (just an alarm spell on one of its branches – it knows how to disturb it), Helldamn Spellshroud, James Apolloson, Zander Frey, and Rugar the Dwarf. Wow, that’s a lot more than I thought. I should scale this back a bit.
The best part of this, to me, is that I am under no obligation to respond! I could, of course, and my intention in giving them out is to respond. But unlike magic which summons allies immediately, or ancient summoning circles, not only does this NOT require my true name but it also give me the option of making preparations before I go. Until this day in Mongolia, no-one had used one yet so I was still unsure if it would work the way I surmised. I can admit here, privately, that until this day I had a small concern that maybe I had figured wrong, and maybe the Sowki had discovered a different way of using them in this manner.
But back to where I was. The alarm I had given Zander was going off in my mind, and while it lasted I instructed Rugar to park the truck in an inconspicuous spot. I then camoflaged it with illusion magic and took him with me for backup to visit Zander’s location… wherever it was. I didn’t know what kind of trouble they had gotten into but it seemed to me that it was dire if they were contacting me in this method. I entered the Dimensional Envelope space in the truck with Rugar, and from there I bore a hole through the dimensional wall to the location I “felt” the Mystic Alarm coming from. Rugar and I then stepped through.
We arrived in my fog, about two miles from the super-nexus, about 90° from where I had last sensed it. There was Zander, Helldamn and James standing in front of a huge, gothic castle. Zander very worriedly told me that he could no longer access any of his powers! I tried not to roll my eyes. I think this man actually thought I was really a Doctor! I’ve told him time and again that I have no idea why so many people call me this, but that it is not true. But now that we were together we all caught up. They told me Zander had suffered a pretty strong hit that nearly took him out, and in my “professional” opinion I figured that to be the cause of his problem.
So I found out that James, Zander and Helldamn had wandered off to come to this castle, and while there had found and somehow defeated not only Rasputin, but his two “sons” as well. They then repeated to me a very odd story that Rasputin told them, of a woman named Celeste who came to his house a few days ago and traded him a liquid robe, black as night with the stars shining within it for an object of great power. I didn’t need to imagine what this black robe looked like for two reasons:
1. It nearly perfectly matched the description of the black robe I’ve always seen Baaz wear, or other Archfiends who may have been Baaz wear.
2. Helldamn was currently wearing it.
Sometimes I wonder if I would just be better off alone. Things like this happen and all I can think of is, I wouldn’t even have to deal with this at all if I wasn’t keeping them around. But then I remember the AlternaTrent journal, and I take that Trent’s writings as a cautionary tale, and that usually changes my mind. But at moments like these, it’s so hard to remember that. Holy shit Helldanm, what in the name of Paradox were you thinking?
Before I could really say such a thing to the Sowki, he seemed to be lost in an internal conversation with… someone or something we couldn’t see. Then a strange look came over him, and he just turned around and went back inside the castle. Zander informed us as we gave chase that Helldamn had become posessed.
I raced in with the others to follow Helldamn but we lost him quickly. James tried to track him but honestly – we were in a castle, not the woods! It came as no surprise to me that his wilderness tracking training was of little use here. We narrowly avoided one of Rasputin’s sons, who was not nearly as “defeated” as I was previously led to believe. He was 20 feet tall, made of metal, and raging throughout the place smashing through wall after wall. Rugar opted to stay behind and help maybe calm him down if he could. The rest of us took a guess and went back to wherever the fight had taken place.
Sure enough, there was Helldamn. There was also another guy, the other son of Rasputin it seemed, laying on the floor. He did not appear to be moving. Helldamn was in this study, ducked down behind a desk trying to do something I couldn’t see. He didn’t seem to notice us. Perfect. I entered the room silently, mystically hidden from view and started casting the spell for Exorcism on him. The others started to come in behind me and about halfway through casting the spell, Helldamn did whatever it was he was trying to do, and the desk exploded. Not just the desk, but a wave of Mystic energy washed over the room, somehow draining all the magical energy from… everything!
My own reserves – drained. My energy spheres – drained to non-existance. My active spell effects – drained and shut down. The spell I was casting – drained and cancelled. I was worried it had affected my exposed talismen too, draining the magic empowering them, but thankfully it did not. In review now, and based on the lore I’ve picked up over time, this weird effect seemed to match a little-known branch of magic called Dwoemer Magic that I’ve seen referenced once or twice. Magic designed to specifically affect magical energy, and other magic itself. Potentially very powerful, and very rare. That Rasputin had known this sort of magic made his defeat by my companions seem… implausible at best now. But I was not there, and in no condition now to re-watch their fight through the Visions of the Past to see if Rasputin had actually been “defeated” as they said.
Helldamn got up from being knocked down and we tried to talk to him, but the posessing entity refused to stop pretending to be Helldamn, and tried to insist that everything was fine and normal. He and James started fighting while Zander zipped around the room on his magical flying skateboard, looking for a good opportunity to grab the robe off of him. Both Helldamn and James managed to incapacitate each other – first James was incapacitated by Helldamns magic, and then Helldamn was incapacitated by James’ psychic abilities. Zander swooped in to get the robe off of Helldamn and that gave me all the opportunity I needed. I pulled out my talisman bracelet of magical energy and drew on that to begin re-casting the magical Exorcism on Helldamn. It took two tries but I was finally able to exorcise the robe’s influence over Helldamn, returning him to normal. Zander carefully (using gloves) pulled the robe off of Helldamn and placed the robe in his own pack.
Oddly enough, it couldn’t go into a dimensional pocket. None of the rune items they had, I was told, could go into a dimensional pocket anymore. That was truely odd to me, and I will be investigating this soon to the best of my ability. But for now, Zander had the robe carefully out of sight. I drew on the limited reserve of energy from the bracelet to cast magical sensing spells and began to dig through the rubble of the desk, taking care not to set off another magical trap.
Within the rubble I found a silver dagger in a drawer. It radiated incredibly powerful magic, but did not seem to be a rune item. It certainly did not look like one of the special items of power we had found previously, like Gazi’s first dormant form! Helldamn’s effect upon James ended and he came over to investigate the dagger with me, then he placed it at the bottom of his own bag for temporary safe-keeping until we could examine it in a more secure location.
James then examined the other body laying on the ground and pronounced him dead. Over the radio Rugar asked for a translator from Russian to English and back. It seemed he had talked the giant metal man down out of his rage and was trying to converse with him. I translated a few phrases but ultimately the metal man, who called himself “Biff,” was fluent in American. He said he actually came from America, and I went to go meet with him at Rugar’s request.
Rugar had convinced Biff that I could help his brother (and I could), but had also convinced Biff that his brother was only sleeping. I guess Biff wasn’t too bright. But Biff also talked about knowing where “Seattle” was, in North America, a place I knew had a deevil portal and a place that Rugar for some reason was interested in. While we walked back to the study Zander, James and the now able to move and in his (semi-)right mind again Helldamn left the study so that Biff wouldn’t see them and start a fight again.
In the study, I drew Lytsong and asked her to use one of her magics to give the Breath of Life back to this guy, and revive him from the embrace of death itself. She made the attempt and it was successful. This guy, who Biff called “J.J.” and his brother, started breathing and his wounds lessened, though they did not disappear entirely. J.J. I suddenly recognized as one of the superhumans from weird extradimensional location! We all talked for a bit and Rugar seemed eager to have them accompany us now that they weren’t trying to kill us, but the others and myself were worried how these two would react once they saw the three they were fighting. Plus, Biff and J.J. were unsure about disobeying Rasputin’s last orders to them.
I comprimised with Rugar and found a seldom-used closet in which I could create a permanent Dimensional Envelope. From there I told him we’d be able to come back here quickly in the future in order to interact with these two, if we so desired. Satisfied, he and I left the house to re-join the others.
Where was I? Oh, I was angry at my companions for holding up and nearly completely derailing my plans.
I had already wasted a day gathering energy to make energy spheres that Helldamn’s carelessness caused to wither away. Both he and I were magically drained, James was psychically drained, and we all could use some time to regroup and recover. I bore a portal through the dimensions back to the Dimensional Envelope at the truck, and we all re-entered the truck to recoup. We quickly discussed we only had about 10 hours to spend. James felt he needed a few days to get back to full strength, but acquiesced. Helldamn only needed a few hours he said, but would humor me. Rugar was fine and Zander had recovered his ability to use his powers so he was fine now, too.
I stepped back into the Dimensional Envelope and meditated back up to full. I then recharged some of the talismen I had made for James and which he had drained, then meditated again to recover back to full energy. With the extra time I had (which wasn’t a lot), I also created a small Energy Sphere. By then about 10 hours had passed and I rejoined the others, who had spent their extra time preparing in their own way.
So now I was ready to discuss my plan for destroying the Deevil device. The others added their input (which was surprisingly valuable – maybe I’m a little too hard on them?) and this is what we came up with:
James and Rugar would stay with the truck, enshrouded in the fog. Rugar would use the radar to keep an “eye” on us and note if any creatures were coming after us. Rugar would fire at them to deter them from us. James would man a railgun outside to shoot at things and protect the truck from any creatures which encroached. He would use the Superior Protection Circle I etched in the top if necessary, but only as a last resort since it would be a beacon in the fog that would protect the truck to a point, but also draw other creatures to it.
Helldamn, Zander and I would use magic to fly to the gigantic nexus and rift in order to find the smaller Deevil portal. I provided them both the spell to See Dimensional Anomalies through the Talisman I created for that purpose. I also gave them the Mystic Invisibility spell, to prevent mystic, psychic or supernatural senses from detecting us within the fog. Once there, Zander would go in the portal and fly right back out, giving me a bearing. I would then, fromoutside the portal, fire fragmentation mini-missiles through the portal, trying to hit the machine, from the Wellington Industries mini-missile launcher I picked up.
We had a couple contingencies, and a few close calls, but all in all this experience went much better than the Windsor one did. We were able to destroy the machine and just before the portal closed, as the machine exploded, the giant spinning gem-encrusted array was blown right out through the portal into our hands!
Zander had identified what appeared to be another group of people, fighting Deevils from the other side, but he wasn’t able to get a good look at them. As we flew away I cancelled the still-active spell of fog so that the Deevils who had escaped out the portal as it closed could be engaged by the waiting Demon forces. Before I left, I cast an illusion of a giant cloud, shaped as a hand giving the middle finger to the Rift. We then rejoined the rest of group.
I was tired of Russia, tired of magical plagues, and tired of mysteries. It was time to go home – if I could still call it that. I walked to the front of the truck and first cast a Temporal Barrier, to prevent any time-jumping or retro-viewing in this area. I then used a scroll to open up a dimensional portal to bring us back near Lazo. Once all my companions entered (including Rugar, driving the truck), I went through as well.
I may not be as skilled in Dimensional Portals as a Shifter is, but my aim wasn’t too shabby. We came out just a few miles form Lazlo. Finally, we were back in North America and luckily, not too far form our destination. We made preparations to re-convene in a week’s time in order to further pursue the dagger.
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