Ladies in Hades and the Dyval Wears Prada
Story - Lars - Betrayl
Note: This story takes place between three to six months before the start of the campaign. Its canonicity (as far as Lars’ point of view) is in doubt due to revelations presented to Trent Logan.
Lars and Jescha silently entered the warehouse. There was something about this situation that was bugging Lars, but he couldn’t put his finger on it. That was why he asked Trent to stay back and stand watch – if things went wrong, it was Trent he wanted to have his back, not this girl who was skulking along with him. He had nothing against her personally, and her skill as a mage was impressive, but she had been acting a little off all night. She didn’t seem to like it much when he asked Trent to stay behind and watch their back, but that in itself wasn’t surprising. Trent was surprised too, and the two of them had become pretty close over the last few months.
But something about her was making him nervous, and it only got worse when they left Trent behind. Lars focused on what was around him in the warehouse for now. Whatever was going on with Jescha would sort itself out eventually. Now he just wanted to get what they came for and get out. He stopped and scanned around the warehouse, looking to see if anything seemed out of place. It all looked like he expected it to. He saw stacks of books both old and new, piles of miscellaneous items dating back to before the cataclysm, and other assorted things which the Coalition had determined were illegal for ordinary people to possess.
The plan was to take as much as they could carry and get it back out into the hands of the very types of people who it had been confiscated from: Free thinkers, the inquisitive, and in general anyone who was willing to challenge the view of the world the Coalition impressed upon the public. He reached for one of the specially prepared bags he had with him, which would magically hold more than ten times its size in volume and weight. He was moving forward when a sound behind him made him stop. It was Jescha’s voice, and she was casting a spell. He turned to face her and tried to force away the dread he suddenly felt. This was not part of the plan.
She finished the spell before he could react any further and she suddenly disappeared, seeming to melt into the shadows. “Jescha!” He half-whispered, half-shouted at her. “What are you doing?” Lars readied his sidearm and started backing away. He began to cast his own magic, a spell to give him an edge in this unknown situation.
“I wish there was an alternative,” He heard Jescha softly whisper, though from where exactly was impossible to tell. “For Trent’s sake. But you both made your choices.”
“What have you done?” He asked as his own spell finished. He could feel time in the area around him begin to slow. It wasn’t much, but it would give him an edge in whatever game she was playing. This was not magic she would be able to counter.
“For the sake of all Humanity,” Jescha said slowly in her soft whisper. “You and those like you must be eliminated. For the Coalition…”
That bad feeling Lars had earlier turned into sudden dread. He started firing blindly into the shadows around him, knowing she had to still be in one of them somewhere. As he emptied his weapon in this panic he failed to notice movement from behind him. About a dozen people crept out from behind the stacks and piles Lars observed earlier and slowly moved into position.
He still couldn’t quite believe what the fear in him was realizing. Rational thought told him it was ridiculous – no mage would work with the Coalition, and the Coalition would never work with a mage. Yet everything she had just said confirmed it. There had always been rumors – no, not rumors. More like ridiculous fairy tales whispered among drunks and the insane, that such a group calling themselves The Vanguard existed. A secret Coalition strike force composed of mages, fanatically loyal to the Coalitions ideals. Their existence was never confirmed, and no rumor was ever found to have any grain of truth to it. So for her to have said what she just said…
Lars lowered his empty weapon turned around, knowing that it was all over. He turned to face thirteen armed Coalition soldiers, all calmly focusing their weapons on him. He noticed red targeting lights dancing on his chest and his head. Even with the time magic still running its course, he wouldn’t be fast enough to get out of this. “This is it,” He thought. “That bitch accomplished what years’ worth of normal, psychic and mutant soldiers had failed to achieve.” He closed his eyes, already trying to think of ways out of this. “At least Trent got left out of this.”
A noise like door opening and closing, followed by footsteps running his way, made Lars sigh inwardly. Trent came screeching to a halt just a few feet behind Lars as he now noticed the Coalition soldiers. Those soldiers were not surprised to see a second person run in, and without missing a beat half the red targeting dots on Lars smoothly moved over to Trent. Trent spared a quick glance around the room, and then seemed obviously relieved.
“Trent…” Lars whispered to Trent, as loudly as he dared. Turned out it was too loud.
“Shut up,” Interrupted one of the Coalition soldiers.
“The Van…” Lars continued, but he didn’t get to finish the sentence as one of the Coalition soldiers shot Lars with a taser-like discharge. “The Vanguard is real,” he thought to himself as consciousness fled. “Jescha was one of them.” But the words slipped away unspoken as he fell to the floor unconscious.