Journal Entry 45: Shards and Ruined Vests

GTHARREN VALLEY, DYNAFEL

Narration

JANUAE

I finally did it. I finally jaunted with some modicum of control. Well, I suppose I was able to control the when, though not so much the where. The wind has been taken out of the sails of my elation though, to say the least, after witnessing– or in a vague sense, experiencing– my own death. Well, the death of my duplicate, that is. As if from within a dream. But I am sure those experiences were very real for him. And I’m just as certain he died here. Recently, at that. I can feel it.

There it is… the giant crystal which brought him here to the Gtharren Valley. For which he died in vain. He didn’t even get to-

PHIRASTER

You! So, you made it back after all.

JANUAE

Pardon me, I… wait, I recognize you from the… you’re the old nano, Phiraster.

PHIRASTER

I see you found your way back from the Endless Abode. Not many can find their way out of that place. Good for you.

JANUAE

Actually, I need to explain. That was my double you sent to-

PHIRASTER

(sighs)

Well, I did say you’d get a shard from the great crystal if you found your way out of that dimension so I suppose you earned it.

JANUAE

You don’t understand. I’m-

PHIRASTER

Do you want the shard or not? I could change my mind, you know.

JANUAE

Er, I guess so?

PHIRASTER

Very well.

PHIRASTER levitates up to the higher section of the crystal

JANUAE

Ah. Levitation. I wondered how he was going to be able to reach the crystal.

Sound of shard being snapped off above. PHIRASTER returns to the ground.

 PHIRASTER

There’s your shard. Now off you go.

JANUAE

So can you tell me a bit about this? If I want to-

PHIRASTER has simply vanished in the midst of the question

JANUAE

…did he seriously just vanish right in front of me? Phiraster? Hello?

(beat)

Oh. Well… I have no idea what to do with this thing. I have no artifacts or cyphers that need charging. Well maybe I can fetch a good price for it in… wherever I decide to go next.

NETLIEN approaches from a short distance away

NETLIEN

(calling out)

Hello there, stranger.

JANUAE

Hello? Who goes there?

NETLIEN

Nobody in particular, just a traveler. I’m perfectly harmless, trust me. Did I just see you talking to someone a minute ago?

JANUAE

Yes, the custodian of… I’m sorry, who did you say you were?

NETLIEN

I didn’t. But you can call me Netlien.

JANUAE

Netlien. I’m Januae.

NETLIEN

Who was that you were talking to just now?

JANUAE

Phiraster, a really powerful and rather cantankerous nano. He’s the custodian of this giant crystal here.

NETLIEN

Custodian? Like anyone’s going to try to steal that giant thing.

JANUAE

Apparently people come from all over to obtain a shard from it. I believe he watches over it and protects it from being ravaged and chipped away into nothing over time.

NETLIEN

So that’s what you got there? A shard from that big crystal?

JANUAE

This is, yes.

NETLIEN

Can I see it?

JANUAE

I suppose there’s no harm in it.

JANUAE hands NETLIEN the crystal and they proceed to examine it

JANUAE

Wow, you must really be moved by how dazzling it is.

NETLIEN

What? Oh, my eyes are watering, aren’t they? Yes, it really is quite stunning. Here you go.

NETLIEN returns the shard to JANUAE

NETLIEN

What does it do? Is it worth a lot of money?

JANUAE

It’s supposed to have the ability to power devices and such. I don’t know what it’s worth but I imagine it could be worth something.

NETLIEN

So he watches over the crystal but you convinced him to chip a piece off for you?

JANUAE

Well, apparently it’s really difficult to get him to give up a shard from it. From my understanding he turns most people away. Januae… er, I had to return from another dimension to earn this. I’m surprised I made it back alive. Really didn’t make any difference in the end, though…

NETLIEN

Clearly it did since he gave you the shard.

JANUAE

No, no.. I just mean that… never mind.

NETLIEN

So what are you planning on doing with it?

JANUAE

You know, I don’t know…

NETLIEN

You came here to get it but you don’t know what you’re going to do with it?

JANUAE

Well originally I… well, not me, but… you know what? It’s a long story.

NETLIEN

Well you have it now and it’s likely worth something so I’m sure you could fetch a nice price for it.

JANUAE

I’d like to find out what use I could get out of it first. Maybe I could find a clave where an Aeon Priest could tell me what I might use it for. Maybe it could help me in my quest.

NETLIEN

Ooh, a quest! You must be some sort of adventurer, huh?

JANUAE

Something like that. I’m on a mission, actually… I suppose I ought to put all my energy toward that. Figuring out what all this thing does may have to wait.

NETLIEN

I think you’re going to complete your mission with great success. Your sense of purpose just emanates from you. I bet you’ll accomplish whatever you set out to do, I can feel it. Great songs will be written about your journey.

JANUAE

Well, I just want to do what’s right.

NETLIEN

Heh. Don’t we all. So where are you headed next?

JANUAE

I haven’t quite decided yet.

NETLIEN

Well can I ask a favor of you? I’ve been traveling a week straight coming from Dynafel on my own. A few times I felt like I was being watched at night, by predators or bandits, abhumans maybe, and I can hardly sleep soundly. Could you maybe keep me company throughout the night? It would help me feel safer. I just want one good night of sleep.

JANUAE

Don’t you know the Ninth World is no place to travel alone?

NETLIEN

I know, but my sister is due to have her baby anytime now and I wanted to get to Rarmon as fast as I could. I couldn’t find anyone that would take me there so I just set out on my own. I guess I just got too excited and didn’t think it through. So would you mind? I’m not asking you to stay awake and keep watch, I just want the company.

JANUAE

Of course. Let’s move a bit out of the valley and we’ll set up camp.

THE DURKHAL, QI

COLRED

You wish to see me, Bishop Kliambala?

KLIAMBALA

Yes, Colred. I’m sure you heard the news?

COLRED

(coyly)

News? I can’t be certain. A lot of news floats around Qi…

KLIAMBALA

I think you know what news I’m referring to. Let’s not be coy.

COLRED

Well, I did hear something about Januae having been… brought back to the Durkhal?

KLIAMBALA

That’s one way of putting it, though I’m sure you already know he did not return here alive.

COLRED

Yes, I do recall hearing that. That is rather… tragic. Can you tell me about his demise, how it transpired?

KLIAMBALA

I’m not sure if your curiosity is serving some perverse delight but I will spare you the details. He was a member of our semblage after all, not to mention a person, so I would hope you’d show at least a modicum of reverence.

COLRED

Of course, Your Excellency. Since I’m already aware of his… condition and you are choosing not to share any of the details as to how it happened, would you mind telling me why you’ve sent for me?

KLIAMBALA

If you would allow me to, yes. I need you to conduct research on this.

KLIAMBALA hands COLRED the vest

COLRED

What is this?

KLIAMBALA

It’s a vest.

COLRED

Or it was at one time. It’s beyond recognition. what is the significance of it?

KLIAMBALA

This is the vest Januae was wearing when the bounty hunter delivered his body to us. According to her this vest is what Januae used to teleport. Apparently there is a teleportation device in Jargolamis this vest enabled him to return to. I want you to take a team there and seek out this device. If we can find it we can hopefully replicate a large scale version of it, which would be a huge step towards fulfilling the Amber Pope’s initiative.

COLRED

Did you say Jargolamis? In the Pytharon Empire?

KLIAMBALA

That is what the bounty hunter told me.

COLRED

You do realize it would take a dozen weeks to travel there by foot?

KLIAMBALA

Of course you wouldn’t be expected to travel on foot. We have aneens and wagons for you to take.

COLRED

Even riding a mount would take just shy of a month.

KLIAMBALA

Is that a problem?

COLRED

Not at all, Your Excellency. But would it not be more expeditious to simply repair the vest and use it in the same manner Januae did?

KLIAMBALA

As you can see this vest is barely recognizable. It has been damaged to the point of being irreparable, it’s practically destroyed.

COLRED

If whatever killed Januae was able to do such extensive damage to the vest his manner of death must have been quite… tragic.

KLIAMBALA

Feel free to put aside your morbid curiosity, Colred.

COLRED

Even in its severely damaged state I believe with our most gifted Aeon Priests reverse engineering this vest we could easily reduce a year’s worth of research to nine or ten months.

KLIAMBALA

Nine months? We simply don’t have that kind of time. Pope Durranet has been applying pressure to the Archbishop and that pressure has been naturally passed on to me. Save the research until after your team returns. For now, you need to arrange to make a trip to the Twinned Cities to retrieve the device.

COLRED

You may not be aware of this, but travel throughout the Steadfast is inherently dangerous. I couldn’t guarantee I would return with the entire team I’d end up taking to the Pytharon Empire.

KLIAMBALA

Well you’re going to have to travel one way or another. Once you find the teleportation device you will be expected to transport it back here to the Durkhal for further study in any event. And you can’t simply teleport a teleporter back here. So you’ll have to suck it up and make the journey the old fashioned way.

COLRED

If that is what you feel would be best. I’ll try to find people to join the team who would be adequately expendable-

KLIAMBALA

Enough, Colred! I’m not sure you could have used a heavier hand to make your point. Just see to it that you get that device back here as promptly as is possible. I’m not going to quibble with you over the means you use to do it. Understood?

COLRED

Understood, Your Excellency.

KLIAMBALA

That will be all. Off you go.

Sound of a door closing as COLRED exits

(sighs heavily)

Sometimes, I swear…

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