[Quill’s private journal]
--- May 23rd, 2074, 11:04am:
Initiation last night. I think I understand now why nobody visits the metaplanes lightly – they’ll mess you up hard, even just getting there. Seeing Steel at the threshold the first time I went to them was bad enough, especially when he told me to give him up for dead. This time was
--- May 23rd, 2074, 11:18am:
This time it was Moly at the threshold, saying that was abandoning her – it was like being shot. I almost panicked when she said that. It was all too real and too close to home. I started babbling, telling her no, it wasn’t me abandoning her, it was just a journey I needed to take, that I’d be back, it was just a temporary parting. I felt so rotten, so ashamed, so awful… The look in her eyes was so haunted, so accusing. I can’t bear to be on the other end of that. My stomach’s all knotted up just from thinking about this again, and I feel like hell.
The other side was surreal when I got there. I was one of Blaze’s guardians, and Moly had the role I guess I would normally have for them: The outsider, the dark one, the untrustable. Theta was grown up and in uniform, and Vincent was in the group too. Sort-of Vincent anyway – he had Viri’s voice sometimes? Blaze kept saying that she and I were connected by destiny, kept warning me not to trust Moly. Refusing to listen to Blaze and telling her I’d make my own choices felt so damn good. How much of a mirror is this to Moly’s relationship with Blaze? How much is me projecting my own imagination?
We fought what I think was supposed to be the Devourer Wurm, and when defeated it became the passageway forward. It was malleable, though- I’m not going to just step into something’s mouth as part of a personal narrative of self-discovery. Walking through it, we found a “Corporate Hive”, with Skye imprisoned inside. The bugs wanted to bargain for her freedom, but I refused. I couldn’t shape things enough to get her out on my own, but Virivincent and Moly together were enough to free her. Like I’d bargain with insect spirits or their lookalikes. I think they were trying to tempt me to give up the fight? Didn’t really listen to them.
It got worse after that. Steelwraith showed up, and hinted that he’d been corrupted by the Hunters. He attacked and corrupted Skye, but I captured and held him inside the worldstuff – I refuse to kill even a shadow of my mentor. Theta killed Skye. Moly killed Theta. Blaze killed Moly. I fled before my heart broke more.
Then one of the Masks was there in the next place, in my old room, with all my old things. Even wearing my old body, that shithead… wrong strategy for him to try, I was too wrung-out to care about my past. He was wounded and weakened from earlier fights, and I struck him down with lightning and broke his pattern and gave him the real death.
I don’t want to think about any of this anymore.
--- May 23rd, 2074, 7:29pm:
Something’s changed in me, but I’m not sure what yet. I feel different, but I can’t tell if it’s the same kind of thing I felt before. Nice how a harrowing will earn you some mysterious self-improvement, I guess.
Welcome to the third circle, magus. Plan on seeing yourself reach the fourth?