Campaign of the Month: May 2014
Ladies in Hades and the Dyval Wears Prada
Story - Trent - The Paths Not Taken
The Paths Not Taken
This story takes place in between the adventure log posts Calgary Battle Prep: Conversational Interlude 3 and New Calgary: The End. It occurs chronologically before the story Story – Trent – The Price of Freedom
After leaving his companions to their own plans, Trent headed towards the brothel where “One” said he could be contacted. He turned off and put away his new radio, then Trent went in and informed the Madame he was there to see “One.” She led him up to the sixth floor, and down the hall to the sixth door. She knocked and then walked away, leaving him to enter at his whim. Trent cast the spells to see the invisible, to sense magic, and to see dimensional anomalies. With that done, he steeled himself, opened the door, and walked in.
The room was as large, it seemed, as the whole entire sixth floor. There were five people in the room and they all turned to look at him as he entered. Trent stood there and surveyed the room. In the back was a tall, muscular guy who seemed to be brooding. In front of a large bank of computer monitors was a woman strikingly similar to the woman he met in the brothel previously, the woman “One” called “Six.” Standing next to her was the man who visited him earlier, who called himself “One.” Over near the side of the room was a man who looked strikingly similar to Trent. Near him was Jescha again.
The entire place appeared to be outfitted like some sort of military outpost or command center, full of high-end military-grade weaponry and gear. Everyone but the woman who looked like “Six” had dimensional pockets clearly outlined to Trent’s enhanced vision. He also spotted what appeared to be the opening to a dimensional envelope up in the ceiling. After looking around, Trent addressed them all and said “Hello.”
“One” made quick introductions: The guy who looked like Trent was called “Three,” and “One” told “Three” to drop his invisibility disguise. The woman who looked like “Six” was actually “Seven.” In the back, the tall muscular one was introduced as “Five.” And of course Jescha was re-introduced as “Two.” “One” asked “Seven” if she was ready, and with her nod he sent her to go get “Six.” As she left Trent stepped further in the room to look at what was on the monitors, but he didn’t see anything particularly of note – just that they were very busy with a lot of information.
Trent began asking “One” questions about their group, and while “One” spoke for them in general he deferred to some of the others to speak up at times. When Trent asked why “One” didn’t just send them all back to their home dimensions, “One” talked around his answer and then used Jescha as an example, about how she believes she’s actually from this dimension, and ended by saying that in general none of them were looking to go back to their homes as they don’t really remember them. Instead they’re working together to keep an eye out for what Jescha referred to as “Inter-dimensional Trent Refugees.”
When Trent asked them if they remember how they got here, only “Five” answered, saying his first memory was of waking up and seeing Trent looking at him. When Trent suggested he maybe meant “Three,” “Three” became very defensive and insisted he never used magic in his life. “One” interrupted then, seeking to calm things back down. Jescha gave “Three” the sort of look that Trent remembered she would give to him sometimes.
In talking about the way they all differ, “One” brought up that “Seven” is mute, “Five” was military trained, “Three” was more of a rogue or thief, “One” studied dimensional magic and made a pack with a dark god, while Jescha had belonged to the Vanguard organization. Trent was taken aback a bit by the dark god stuff, but was absolutely floored by this second revelation about Jescha. When she confirmed it Trent had to take several deep, calming breaths to recover his composure and continue with the reason he came there.
“One” started to talk about a certain dangerous book which had recently resurfaced, and that helped pull Trent back on track. He interrupted to tell One that he already knew about the Codex of Souls. Instantly everyone in the room was shocked and became wary. Most reached for a weapon. “Five” actually dropped his in surprise. “One” reached into his pocket to grab an item he could use to verify Trent wasn’t really some shape shifted monster.
Once “One” was certain that Trent is Trent, he asks Trent to explain how he knows about it. Trent replies that he found it in a temporal anomaly within a Tolkeen Library, along with two unconscious Deevils, and that he and his group had lost it after they removed it from the slow-time field because they left it behind when they went back in. Trent kept getting interrupted with questions, and he did his best to answer them. Although he mentioned that a Temporal Raider seemed to have been involved, Trent didn’t mention it was one he was very familiar with.
Trent talked about his companions from that time, what they all had discovered, what they’ve done since, and what Trent had pieced together. When Trent talked about the experience from the library onward, he realized everything he actually knew about the book from experience ended there – the rest of the information (what the book was, its contents, it resurfacing) came from Pall Mall and his sources. Trent kept that revelation to himself, to deal with at a later time. “One” got a thoughtful look on his face though when Trent mentioned one of his companions was a Sowki.
“One” shared with Trent that his dark gods told him about the book and what was contained within. At that point, Trent came out with his reason for being there today: “One” had come to him, wanting Trent to be a part of their group, mission, or just for some help – he didn’t know what yet. But fact was they came to him and they wanted him. Quid pro quo, he’s come to them too: Trent followed a Deevil Reagent who was in possession of a greatest rune item to this City, in hopes of getting that item out of its hands and back to its rightful owner. “One” seemed excited when he thought Trent was working for a god, but Trent quickly corrected him and said he was doing this for himself, his world, maybe even the multiverse – but because it was what he wanted to do, not what he had been directed to do.
Trent continued to tell them that he believed at least two or three of the artifacts were in Calgary, and if all seven weren’t here yet he expected they would be soon. Trent told them about the discovery of the Deevils massing underground for a surprise ambush, and his theory that it’s nothing more than an elaborate distraction for some reason. He suspects the Deevils may use the confusion of an “invasion” to achieve a different goal. But Trent informed them he needed their help, all of them, to find out what that may be. That was the reason for why he came.
With that all said, “Six” entered the room in a wheelchair, being pushed by “Seven.” Trent realized they had been gone quite a while, and at that point discovered his time sense was indicating that time in this room travelled at a faster rate than normal. This whole room was actually a dimensional pocket or envelope, only connected to Calgary through the door he had walked through. “Six” winked at Trent, but otherwise seemed incoherent and non-responsive.
Everyone had trouble taking Trent’s story at face value, and Trent couldn’t blame them. Now that he had said all that out loud, he realized there were more than a few holes in his story – some were intentionally left out, but others… Trent wasn’t so sure that putting all his faith in the word of his companion Pall Mall was such a good idea. “One” exchanged some words with Jescha and then told Trent they would try to verify the things he’d told them. Trent thanked them.
Trent asked “One” how they all knew they were alternate versions of each other, of him? “One” said that sometimes those who appear similar can help locate others who are similar. He used “Seven” as an example for how they found “Six”, and he said that “Three” helped them to find Trent as well. He then talked around the answer a bit, offering up theories on dimensional harmonics and shared souls, but ultimately admitted it was just his gut feeling that allowed him to know if someone may be one of their other-dimensional alternate selves.
Something was still bothering Trent though. He did a quick mental check and realized that “One” had referred to him potentially as number “Eight.” Counting everyone else here, and excluding a “Zero” or “Prime”, there was one missing: “Four.” When Trent asked about a “Four”, “One” told him that “Four” had declined to join up with them and had managed to successfully elude them ever since. Trent felt he could understand how “Four” felt. He did take that moment though to cast a spell for seeing auras, to see if there was anything he could see that would link them together. He saw no one thing which stood out on all six of them.
For now, Trent decided he would take their story at face value – it was too incredible not to, really. Even though he knew there was more to this than had been revealed so far, Trent had to admit to himself that he needed their help if he was going to thwart whatever the Deevils were up to. “One” had confirmed at least one thing for Trent – the information contained within the Codex of Souls, and what it portended. A full-scale war between the Demons and the Deevils and the dangerous ease with which it would spread to engulf the entire Megaverse itself.
As Trent prepared to leave, “One” insisted that he let one of them come with him. Considering the company that Trent was keeping, “One” felt it was too dangerous to let him go back alone. Trent couldn’t really refute that logic. “One” asked Jescha to grab her things and go with him, to keep him safe. She said she would give her life if needed, to which Trent replied he didn’t plan to let it come to that. Her response felt a little too serious to Trent and he found himself wondering again what the real truth was here.
Jescha smiled at him then. One of her rare, genuine smiles which almost made Trent forget all the lies and deception she had piled up when they were together. Trent left, and Jescha followed. Trent paid attention to the dimensional frequency of this place as he was leaving in order to ensure he’d be able to direct dimensional travel magic to take him directly there, if ever necessary. Once they left Trent asked Jescha to try and use one of the talismen he had attuned to himself. He did this to test a new theory he was developing, one involving the bio-energy frequency which was similar yet different from auras, and which one of his magics could react with.
Trent made mental plans for how he would spend the rest of the morning. There would be plenty of time to get more answers from Jescha while he made certain preparations that he had been putting off for some time now. In fact, with her help, it would be even easier. His mind swam with ideas and possibilities.