Journal Entry 16: Reset

COLD OPENING

JANUAE

I’ve teleported out of there, but the beast… where is it? I must not have been able to bring it along with me. Is it still on the island? Perhaps it will leave the dimension now that I’m no longer there. Most of all, I hope the halites are safe…

NARRATION

JANUAE

I have arrived at what appears to be an area outside a great forest. I can see thick woods in the distance several kilometers away. The immediate area is surrounded by trees as well, but not as densely. In the opposite direction of the woods I see the trees become more sparse, giving way to more open fields and meadows. I can see herd animals such as aneens and griffalo grazing.

Standing before me however is a stranger, staring at me, mouth agape. He is a man in his thirties, dressed in modest robes, with an emblem on the breast displaying that familiar symbol…

An Aeon Priest.

(to the stranger)

Hello there. I’m sorry if I startled you. Did you just witness me-

LOWEN

You just appeared out of nowhere! How did you do that? Where did you come from?

JANUAE

Sorry, I just do that sometimes. Kind of my thing. I am Januae. What’s your name?

LOWEN

But how did you-?

JANUAE

How about some introductions first? Then I’ll explain.

LOWEN

(after a beat)

Sorry, sorry… it’s just that I… yes, hello. I’m Lowen.

JANUAE

A pleasure, Lowen. So is there a town or aldeia nearby?

LOWEN

Heh. No. There was. But not anymore. But I need to know how you-

JANUAE

Listen, I need to get my bearings first. I don’t know what place this is or where I am. I’d at least like to know that much, so would you mind-

LOWEN

First tell me how you managed to do that, popping up out of thin air like that, and I’ll tell you where you are.

NARRATION

JANUAE

I divulge to him that I am an Aeon Priest as well. I explain to him the mishap with the teleportation device, the ritual performed by the Veilwardens, and the uncontrollable jaunting affliction. I tell him of my encounter with the shatarak before arriving here, though I leave out most of the details leading up to the event. I share with him my glimmer of hope in possibly being able to control the jaunting, but it is of course unverified as of yet. He listens with great interest and intensity. His curiosity seems to be ignited by the account of my experiences. Such is the nature of an Aeon Priest, I suppose.

(to LOWEN)

Now you said there was a town here at one time? Tell me what happened.

LOWEN

Yes, well. There was a town here. There probably still is. I don’t know. Probably. The numenera, it’s… well, you know. So we were assembling an installation cuz the callerails, well, they’re huge and dangerous. And it makes them go away. The installation. Numenera, you know? Pleena, the wright was assembling it and I was helping. Then we were here. This is it now. But I will help you control it.

JANUAE

Control what? The installation? I would have to see it first-

LOWEN

The jaunting! We can jaunt together! Of course!

JANUAE

Okay, hold on. I’m trying to keep up here. What’s this about helping me control my jaunting?

LOWEN

Yes! If you jaunt I can jaunt! We’ll figure out how to control it.

JANUAE

Do you know a way to control teleporting?

LOWEN

No. But maybe. Maybe I can learn. With you. We need to learn to control it.

JANUAE

That would be great if we could, but I haven’t found a way yet. But for now let’s put that aside and get back to what happened to the town here. You say you were working on an installation with a wright…

LOWEN

Yes. Then all vanished and we were here.

JANUAE

Where is this wright, Pleena?

LOWEN

(a moment of silence)

They were killed by the catterail.

JANUAE

I’m sorry to hear that. Was this after-

LOWEN

It’s the same land. Same place. Houses, buildings, people- all gone. But the land is the same.

JANUAE

I’m trying to understand. Where is this town located, or where was it located? What is the name of this land? Are we in the Steadfast or the Beyond or somewhere else?

LOWEN

We’re in Navarene, about three days’ travel from Bodrov.

JANUAE

Bodrov! Let’s make the journey to Bodrov then!

LOWEN

(agitated)

You can’t! You can’t go to Bodrov! You can’t go to The Westwood! You can’t go anywhere!

JANUAE

Why? What’s stopping you? I need you to explain what happened here!

NARRATION

JANUAE

I’m finding Lowen very difficult to communicate with. He offers information in pieces at a time, and those pieces are often jumbled and cryptic. After an exhausting session of unraveling his statements by way of repeating and rephrasing my questions several times, I believe I have a better understanding of his current situation, and now mine.

Ever since the malfunction of the installation the area has been locked into some sort of infinite space-time loop. He is unable to go to Bodrov or anywhere else as this loop seems to encompass an area of roughly three kilometers. When one ventures far enough outside the area they merely find themselves back where they started.

In addition all the animals, plants, and such are inexhaustible in this place. Lowen has described hunting and killing a very distinctively marked herd animal for food, only to have it reappear nearly a week later with the same markings. Fruit picked from trees reappear several days later on the exact same spot on their branches. Any structure he attempts to erect is gone a few days later.

I pursue another frustrating session of inquiry regarding the installation and the callerail. Callerails are very large creatures, about five meters tall, comprised of organic and inorganic matter. The inorganic matter is acquired from their ability to absorb it from other things, which makes them very challenging to defeat. The installation was a short tower that was supposed to reverse the callerail’s absorption ability, thus drawing the protective inorganic material out of the creatures. However, it did not work as intended, and the effect was catastrophic.

I had asked Lowen to take me to see the installation. All that remains of it are a few struts of metal anchored in the ground. I am certain there was much more to the device than what stands before me.

(to LOWEN)

What happened to it?

LOWEN

The callerail.

JANUAE

You mean the callerail destroyed it?

LOWEN

They absorbed it.

JANUAE

Wait a minute… if it was supposed to- how could they-

LOWEN

I hate this place.

JANUAE

Lowen, tell me how-

LOWEN

Yes, it is idyllic and peaceful. There is always food. The temperature is always perfect. See the house I built? No, you don’t. It’s gone. The reset. It always resets. Everything resets. The same, day in and day out. But I get older. I don’t reset!

JANUAE

Lowen, you need to take a moment and-

LOWEN

This place is a prison. I’ve got to get out of here! You need to help me get out of here! You can jaunt… we can jaunt! You have to show me how!

JANUAE

I told you, I don’t know how-

LOWEN

We will figure out how! And once we do we’ll leave this place! We have to! I’m stuck here, I’ve been stuck here, now you’re stuck and we have to get out of here!

JANUAE

Lowen- stop! You need to stop. Calm yourself.

(LOWEN can be heard hyperventilating. His breathing gradually slows before JANUAE continues)

That’s it. Good. Okay. I understand you want to leave this place, but there will be time to try to figure it out, if we can. Based on my experience I’m going be here for quite awhile I suspect. For now, I’ll need you to teach me how to survive in this land and inform me of its strangeness so I know what to expect.

NARRATION

Lowen has taken quite awhile to shake off the manic state he was in. He hadn’t spoken for a good twenty minutes and carried on as if I wasn’t even there. He has finally started speaking to me again and is back to his chatty yet confusing self, and has gone back to interrogating me about my jaunting. I think I preferred him as a mute.

I suppose I will have to get used to his quirkiness, his erratic moods, and his disjointed way of communication, especially if he can somehow help me understand how to control my jaunting, if possible.

There is something about this situation that doesn’t come together for me though, and I can’t seem to get straight answers from Lowen. If the callerails had absorbed the material from the installation, and they killed the wright, they would have to have done so after the device malfunctioned, after it brought Lowen and Pleena here. But Lowen doesn’t seemed to be concerned with any potential attack from them. Well, I will be here for who knows how long so I’ll have time to try to make sense of it. In the meantime, I will have to learn to live with this odd individual in this very strange environment.

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