Ladies in Hades and the Dyval Wears Prada
Journal - Trent - Entry 59
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In the Magic Guild, Tanya left me a book called “Time and Again,” by someone named Jack Finney. Inside the sleeve was a note from here, requesting we meet soon. Inside the cover of the book was an electronic copy of another book, called “Man and Time” by someone named J.B. Priestly. This book apparently was from Sturm Brightblade. I don’t know what either of them were getting at with these books, but I contacted her as requested – I had some things I wanted to talk to her about, anyway.
We met (where I will not say, nothing is secure anymore) and she talked to me some more about her employer, Sturm Brightblade. He left, apparently, to go to the Palladium dimension, and she is now running all his holdings. She confided in me her concern that he’s working with Deevils, or at least having clandestine meetings with them – in particular, an Arch-Fiend who wears a special rune-robe. I know now of course that there are more than one of these robes, but she said she heard the name “Boz” mentioned more than once.
I asked her about her recent trip to Dyval, and she told me that Sturm took her along to fight the Chaos generators because of her knowledge of Dyval, from when she used to be a spy there. It wasn’t just her and Sturm, there were also people named Kiku and Aleph with her. Aleph… She didn’t tell me much about him, but now at least I know he’s a real person. I still have his letter. Several of the other allies with them perished in this task, she sadly informed me.
Tanya told me they destroyed two chaos generators in South America, but they got “stuck” in Dyval after the second one, at the Demon Triangle. She said that generator and its nexus were “different,” somehow. Tanya led them through Dyval to try and find other generators so they could leave. They tried but couldn’t take the first generator they came to, but they were able to destroy the generator at Rama from the Dyval side. They weren’t able to make it through the portal because of the Pharoh Rama-Set’s minions swarmed the battlefield, making it too chaotic and forcing them to destroy the generator before they could get through.
The last generator they came to was the one in Mongolia, where we were and where I saw her (thorugh Zander’s radio transmissions). How they escaped I didn’t quite get from her, but obviously they did since she was there talking to me, telling me about Sturm’s abrupt departure and her sudden windfall.
Seeing her felt good. It shouldn’t feel good, I know that I barely know her. But I feel like I’ve known her for a long time, I feel like I can trust her. These feelings I have for her, they’re stronger than I ever felt before – even with Jescha. But I don’t like that these feelings fill me when I’m around her. I know they aren’t mine, that they are from another person, another time. Echoes of memories long since forgotten. I could’ve stayed with her there. I could’ve abandoned everything I’ve been working towards…
Instead I told her, “I know you think I’m the person you remember. But I’m not. I’m not even sure if I ever was, or if there’s something else going on here. A great megaversal plan of misdirection, maybe. Whatever the case, no matter how similar I seem, I am not the person you once knew. I can’t be that person – I’ve gotten glimpses of where that led him, and I won’t follow that path.”
It took me a long time to put those words together, and it was even harder than I anticipated to say that to her. I watched as her face hardened, her jawline set, but then she relazed and smiled at me. That smile! She then had this to say to me. I remember it clearly – she said:
“I understand. Once before you told me something about your memory – about something being wrong or tampered with. Trent, it’s my turn now – because my memories are telling my heart to thrust itself upon you. They are telling my heart to swell with love for you and my eyes to well with tears of joy. And yet, here you sit, across from me… distant, unknowing… or uncaring. You have been burned. I can see that emotional barrier that hardens your heart and prevents you from being burned again. Whether or not you are the man who once loved me… I am the woman who once and still loves you. You have your own path to follow and, perhaps, it may one day cross my own again. Perhaps not. I wish you well. And, while I can understand you and respect your words and your actions despite how deeply they wound me… I do not know how your other past friends and companions will take it. Please, be gentle. Muzzle and Rhadamanthys especially. Knowing them, since the day you left, they never stopped searching the Megaverse for you. One thing is for certain – you may have new friends now – but I think that you are just as good to them as you once were to us… to me. Some things just don’t change.”
I really didn’t know how to respond to all that. It was so tough – why was it so tough? I shouldn’t feel what I feel for her. I got up to leave – I was about to pay the tab when she waved my credits away. I simply said to her, “Your Trent. I hope you find him one day. Thank you for the suit, it’s been handy.” Then I walked out. I didn’t look back, I didn’t dare. I heard her behind me, she said simply for me to “Enjoy the books.” As I walked out and the door closed I could hear her begin to start crying. I forced myself to keep walking, out of the building and out of Lazlo itself.
A few hours of walking later I had cleared my head and made it safely to the outskirts of Lazlo. Without warning a Mystic Pigeon smacked into me. I thought maybe I somehow got in the way of someone’s message but the pigeon stayed put and began speaking at me. Thank Time I was alone! The voice of the pigeon was ’Cady’s, and it said:
“I won’t say your name in case you’re in a crowded place. I just got a pigeon from my mom inquiring as to my ‘relationship’ with you and whether I knew anything about your whereabouts or supposed sighting in Lazlo. I told her that you and I had talked once at the party – which she knew – but that I didn’t keep in touch with you and that we had gone our separate ways. I don’t know what kind of trouble you’re into but Lazlo is getting bad. What’s even weirder is that these Spluggies came ‘round the shop here and starting asking my uncle questions about you and about me and… stuff about the party. I don’t think I should stick around. They looked like trouble! I didn’t even know you were in Lazlo until my mom started asking and I just sent the pigeon so I hope you’re still there and this message reaches you… but I hope you’re not there for long. Uh…, like you know what I was saying. Gods! These pigeons are so weird! It’s not like sending an instant-message. Anyway, I’m thinking about you and I hope you’re okay. I’m making travel arrangements to leave Atlantis but my uncle doesn’t think its safe right now. I still have the card case and I’ll open it when I get to where I’m going. Kisses. ’Cady”
The pigeon disappeared, and I checked the area again to make sure there was no-one else in the area who could’ve overheard that. At least she took my advice and didn’t tell anyone about her connection to me. But if the Splugorth are already asking her about me… I wish I could do more to help her. I’m worried that anything I could do would only draw attention to her that she doesn’t deserve, and put her in more danger. Maybe there is something I could do, if we time travel again. I’ve been giving that idea some thought, but my options seem limited. I’ll need to think on it some more.
I walked some distance further away from Lazlo. Once I felt I was far enough, and after checking to make sure I was still alone, I created a temporary dimensional envelope and went inside. From there I bored through the dimensional barriers to the long-term dimensional envelope I left in England, near the Millenium Tree I met some time ago.
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