Ladies in Hades and the Dyval Wears Prada
Journal - Trent - Entry 62
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Well, the tunnels were a bust.
Not a big deal, I think we’re now on the right track. But we found nothing in the tunnels we were investigating, no patterns in their construction, nothing. I guess it was foolish of me to hope it would be that easy.
With the lead into the Norse halls a dead end, we went to investigate the “new” Christian churches. I’ve checked the records of history on my computer and it tells me that in this “battle” for worshippers between the Norse religion and the Christain religion, this Christain religion eventually wins. That only makes what we eventually found out even harder.
The main church in this town was sealed up by mystic wards. The “priests” were conducting a ceremony of exorcism inside and demanded no interruption. Of course, we interrupted. I might have stood by and waited, but the Exorcism was on a baby, forcibly taken from his mother who was beside herself in grief and anguish outside the church. That just didn’t sit right with me.
I approached the warded door, investigating and fully intending to mystically deconstruct them one at a time when James just up and threw the guard into the wards, setting them all off at once! Well, that was one problem solved. Zander also set off some wards himself, despite being warned of their presense. By the whorls of Time, I can’t babysit everyone.
While James and Helldamn dealt with the mooks who came to interrupt us, I slipped downstairs to meet with Zander, and together we found the ceremony room. The Exorcism ritual was about half done, but notably the priests were being led by two Deevils in disguise! Zander and I met back up with the other two and we formed a plan of attack in which we would teleport through a Mystic Portal into the room and take them all by surprise.
Except it was we who were surprised.
First surprise: Zander cast a Mystic Portal spell? He hasn’t been able to do that before, and I’ll need to ask him about that – up until now, he’d only been able to “copy” it.
Second surprise: Every fucking priest was armed with talismen that contained the invocation of “Carpet of Adhesion” and “Negate Magic.” It was as if they were expecting us, or some group like us, to interrupt them. Certainly these preparations were overboard considering the peasantry of the village. There was even, impossibly, a crystal which prevented Dimensional Travel!
By Damnable Paradox, why would they have even had an artifact like that there? The only beings which could dimensionally teleport were the Deevils themselves – certainly such an artifact couldn’t have benefited them? A very strange mystery that my impressive intellect has yet to be able to solve.
Still, despite their best efforts we were able to overcome their bizzare preparations designed specifically to counter a group such as ours. I was able to wisk the baby away from the clutches of one of the Deevils, who had decided to cast an invocation of Exorcism rather than a ritual. I tried to Wink Out with the baby but that crystal seemed to be the only thing I could identify which could possibly be stopping my attempts. I indicated as much to Helldamn, and with a flourish he shattered the crystal, negating its effects.
Which is when we were sucked into the Realm of Chaos.
I hold nothing against the caster – I believe Helldamn tried to cast it, though his Varja, and then with the crystal destroyed Zander successfully copied it. It took several of the priests out of the fight, but I could feel the baby fade away, unable to resist the magic. I deliberately allowed the magic to affect me as well, so I could protect the baby from the manifestation of his own worst fears, his own worst enemy.
What would a baby’s worst fears or worst enemy be? I imagined/feared it would’ve been some sort of nebulous shadowy form, like a primal expression of fear and terror materialized. But no. Instead a giant, milkless breast formed and waved itself in a barely threatening manner at the child. For this I came to protect the infant? He would have been safer if I had resisted the magic, since I was also subject to the effects of the spell and I faced my own fear materialized:
Not just a copy of me. But a shifting form that partly, obviously resembled me with none of my inhibitions, none of my sanity, and none of my restraint. But the other form it wavered between shifting into was that of the Deevil Boz, in all his sadistic, insane power. The sight and revelation would have immobilized me in abject terror if it wasn’t for the fact that somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew I should have expected this. And I then knew that I did expect that. This was it. Everything I’m afraid of, everything I hate, rolled up into one terrifying package that was beautifully displayed in macabre fashion.
The urge to fight it, to overpower it, to show it that I would not give in to this terrible sight was overwhelming. But the baby in my arms cried out, and I knew this was no time to subject an innocent to such a battle. I came here to save the child but unless I acted now I would only endanger it more. And there was no-one to save me from myself, except for me. In an instant I used my talisman of Wink Out to disappear into a temporary temporal space, from which we would be safe and I could find a way back to reality safely. But the Trent/Boz Creature did exactly what I would do, faced with a foe escaping me using Temporal Magic.
Before the temporal space could fully resolve, chaotic temporal energy flooded around and through us like a Maelstrom, overwhelming my own spell and sending us hurtling through time and space in a flash. Luckily, it only lasted a few instants for us. I did my best to comfort the baby, to protect him from the harmful energy whipping around, lashing at us. The baby screamed. From my breast pocket the sleeping Zelda awoke, and she screamed louder than the baby – just barely poking up out of the pocket, hair whipping around, clutching onto the fabric for dear life as we all rode out the storm.
And like that, it was over. I re-materialized in the room where we encountered the priests (not the Realm of Chaos – that spell had long since ended) and noted that about nine hours had passed! I radioed and discovered that Zander, James and Helldamn were still nearby, and they had used my long absense to rest, recover, and learn what was causing the Black Death in this century – the plague we were here to stop!
There was an incense mixture, a strange combination of plants that the church had a large shipment of and was burning everywhere throughout the town. Somehow, this incense smoke was infecting all those who breathed it. Not immediately, it took some time to become infected, but infection was inevetible. Zander found this out because he smoked a good portion deliberately, and was immediately overcame with the plague because of taking such a concentrated dose. Luckily, James was there (has anyone ever uttered those words before, in the history of James’ existence?). James cured Zander and he also checked us all out – the rest of us were fine for now, but he did detect traces of it in our systems.
Meanwhile, the baby. The baby it turned out was not only immune to this Black Plague/Death, but also spoke to us in Dragonese – not intelligently, but as if a recording. It said it was posessed of a fragment of the god Loki, that the rest of the god was imprisoned in Wormwood, and that Odin needed to be contacted. So, Helldamn contacted Odin again. I’ve never seen a god so responsive to a worshipper before – Odin must really be desperate to keep the followers he has.
Odin didn’t know what he was suppossed to do with the knowledge that the baby was providing him. Typical, thank Time we took the effort to involve him. Odin then went on about his own problems, how he wanted someone to impale themselves on Yggdrasil so he’d have his own Martyr, to combat Christianity with. It looks like Helldamn is giving this some thought – that’ll be too bad. I don’t think he knows just how deadly that’s likely to be. It doesn’t matter though, since Odin can’t do this unless someone gets his spear back for him, from the city of Jerusalem.
Which brings me back full circle to the Black Plague-causing incense that was being spread around by this Christain church… James was able to identify that a main ingredient/plant in it comes from that area of the world. The boxes containing it were labelled with shipping instructions from that part of the world. And the Christain church is currently engaged in a “Crusade” to send warriors to that city of Jerusalem.
It seems as if our next step is clear – travel with the Crusaders to find the source of this incense. We can inform the townsfolk that the incense is causing it but here’s my dilemma – do we let them know the Christain church was behind it? I suspect that could rally followers back to the Norse gods, and help push out this Deevil-infested newcomer to the area. But… does that change history? I feel like I should be here to keep history accurate, by eliminating the cause of this plague. Not making changes to how the past unfolds.
Which also begs the question… do we try to rescue Loki from Wormwood? I must admit, the prospect excites me. In our time, 1,000 years from now, Wormwood is at war with a rot that threatens to consume it. But in this era? What was the living planet like before the Host began their dark conquest? I yearn to take advantage of this opportunity, of this excuse to engage my own curiousity. But the question of changing history raises its head again here. My computer tells me legends of Loki being “banished” and “trapped” – are these events, today, the inspiration for those tales?
I must meditate on this.
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