Sunday, July 29, 2007


I do not have much time. Several days ago this world was breached by dimensional portals that heralded a second invasion of the race known as the Rikti. I mentioned them in my earlier post for the reason the war walls had been constructed and their arrival for the second time has brought this city into chaos. I believe this is the event that I was informed of and which brought me to this world in the first place.

Several days ago, around mid-morning, I was alerted by the sound of air sirens blaring throughout Atlas Park. Directly after the sirens there came a crackling in the very air as the war walls suddenly turned off. Vaulting from my small desk where I was examining a piece of salvage found after a battle with the robotic Clockwork, I stood in shock as I watched a line of Rikti bombers cruising over the skyline. Bombs tumbled from their undercarriages and into the city below.

Grabbing my equipment, I made for the streets to see what aid I could provide. Already several heroes in the area had begun organizing teams and I strove to help several citizens to shelter as in the distance the thumping sound of bombs grew louder. Suddenly, my apartment building behind me exploded in a brick throwing burst which knocked me to the ground. Gaining my feet again, I quickly began using my crystals to heal myself and anyone I could find.

Within minutes, I found myself in a warzone as Rikti began to descend via teleportation to the streets below. Grouping with what heroes I could find, we formed a circle and defended ourselves as best as we could. I held a support position, healing continually, and feeling my crystal grow warmer and warmer in its holder till I thought it would burn through to my skin. I survived that encounter and making sure there were no citizens in danger, I ran to another engagement I could see transpiring down the street. After that, we moved to another and another. Eventually, the Rikti broke and began to teleport back to their ships.

I do not know how long I have been fighting. I write this now from a small shelter in an area of the city called King's Row. The shelter is filled with homeless citizens and exhausted fighters like myself hoping for a small bit of food, water, and a place to lie in safety until the next wave. I have heard that they are attacking on many fronts and that they have attained at least one anchor head. Others there are fighting that battle and, for now, I have decided to stay put and do what I can locally. If I can make my way to the more intense areas, I will.

I will be able to write more soon but for now I am tired, dirty, and my emotions are worn thin. I was able to place my viewer on automatic during several battles so as to record what I could of the invasion for my records. I provide these images now and perhaps they can tell the tale better then I.

Monday, July 23, 2007

More Questions Then Answers

It is impossible for me to relate everything that has transpired even over such a scant amount of time as these past few days. I have met a number of not only local civilians but costumed heroes who are attempting to help in a fight that appears to be never-ending against the tyrants and thugs that plague this place. I've worked on several engagements and feel worn to the bone from lack of sleep. I will say, however, that I feel to have made some progress in better understanding this world. I have just begun to explore outside the realm of the war walls of Atlas Park. There is always something to do, someone else to help. The waves of violence in this place seem perpetual and there are time I am amazed the buildings are still standing given the threat level here.

A note on the war walls. From what I have been able to discover, these walls were erected after a dimensional invasion several years ago which the defenders here nearly lost. The alien race, called the Rikti, inflicted massive damage as they charged into this world and the war walls were build to lighten the amount of damage a large scale invasion. Rikti still live on the planet, being left here when dimensional travel was blocked between here and their home layer. I am only slightly familiar with the Rikti in my interdimensional travels and that is by name only. Since they mainly attack with low-flying dropships, these walls can be very effective in blocking anything similiar.

I continue to reside in the small apartment afforded me by MAGI for the time being. Although free and a honorable courtesy for MAGI to offer it to me, I find it rather restrictive. On top of not seeing it much with my current activity level, there also appears to be several MAGI agents near the building that take note of my coming and going. I have decided to dip into my gem stores to help fund my own location. Luckily, it is an old habit of mine that before entering a location I am always sure to bring an emergency fund of precious and semi-precious gems that match the world in question. I would say that being stranded for the foreseeable future constitutes an emergency and so, I can safely say I will have my own place soon.

During the past day or so I have discovered something of great import; a mystical group that may very well be behind the dimensional interference I encountered when entering this realm. They call themselves the Circle of Thorns and those within MAGI have little love of them. I am currently still researching them further but they appear to be a very old and very nefarious cabal of dark mages. While moving through the edges of a city park, I stumbled on several lower ranked mystics attempting to bind the soul of an abducted civilian. I was able to easily route them. Two things concerned me during and after the affair. While one of the robed men staggered away, he turned and gazed at me with his glowing eyes. From his mouth came came the hissed words, "We know you." Unfortunately I was still engaged with four of his brethren that I was unable to stop him and learn how he knew me.

However, the second thing might very well answer the prior because when I first saw the mystics I was stunned to note that the green glowing aura around their ceramonial circle was the very same energy which had collided with my own dimensional portal! This taken with the previously mentioned comment leads me to believe that, indeed, the Circle of Thorns might have played a hand in my accident which has left me stranded here.

To what end, I am unsure. I do feel that this is hardly the last encounter I will have with the Circle of Thorns!

Another item of note concerned an interaction I had with a hero whose name I shall withhold for the time being. Contacting me on the small datapad afforded new heroes, he asked to meet with me privately. Since I was already close to the meeting point, I agreed. Claiming to be on contract with the Portal Corporation, he informed me that he had been given the assignment to track my movements. Surprised by his candor, I asked for more information but he gave none except a warning that the Portal Corporation needed to be watched closely and a small technological device they had given him which had been programmed with my "dimensional signature." Asking more about this, he claimed that Portal had been watching not only me but my ship since entering local Otherworld space and were curious about the "energies at my command." Handing me the device and claiming, "its a shame I lost this little thing," he then extended his aid in my current endeavor which was to rescue a civilian who had been abducted into the local sewer network.

I took the device and have since looked it over. I am quite sure they know nothing of what it takes to become an Otherworld ship captain but I was more then leery of the odd mechanical device. I am quite aware that his story was nothing but a cover and the device was actually a tracking bug in the first place. Still, I carry it and plan on tinkering with it further. I will be able to ascertain its function given enough time. If it is truly a beneficial move, I might be able to use it to jam whatever signal they have on me.

Finally, my long standing readers will recognize the following irony that my first teammate whom I found myself partnered with during an action against a group of street thugs was..... a vampire.

Calling herself Vampress It is, if nothing else, proof positive that the great Universal Winds have a sense of humor. My first encounter with a vampire did not go very well. I find it interesting that I've come across a vast Otherworldly distance only to encounter, yet again, another vampire. Even though other explorers have had more balanced encounters with them and their culture, I cannot get over the fact that I consider them unpredictable and dangerous. Of course, some would say the same for the Fey with which I am known to have an affiliation. Elves and the Fey have long since carried both labels of "dangerous" and "unpredictable." I suppose there is a lesson in all of this for me.

To her defense, Vampress acted honorably throughout our action against the thugs we were facing as well as staying level-headed against my rather pointed questions to her. Of course, she does not know of my past and I do not know of hers. At least she wore her vampiric nature openly, unlike the fiend I encountered so many months ago. Within that honesty, and the fact she was registered with this city, I found a bit of assurance. We parted amicably and who is to say if I will encounter her again.

I've made a note to research what vampiric culture might exist in this world as soon as I can get free time to do so. Even thought my days have been filled with activity, I've been making research notes on how to proceed once things slow down. Hopefully, that will be soon.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Getting Started

My wait outside the great hall was short lived as Azuria's contact found me and they began the process of checking me into their registration. My thoughts were scattered during this time. The initial thought of trying to contact my crew led me to worry that they might try a recovery mission and how could I warn them not to do so. To be honest, I had never experienced such a rough portal entry before and the consequences that I nearly died or, in a worse case scenario, could have been trapped in an eternal stasis between dimensions began to flood over me. Seeing my thoughts turning to such matters, Azuria's attendant quickly guided me to some temporary housing which MAGI provided to new individuals in need of it and encouraged me to have some food and get rest. The quarters were little more then a bed and a window but I was glad for them. Food was brought and after eating I quickly fell into sleep.

I am not sure how long I slept but I awoke fully rested and with daylight streaming through my window. Wandering outside to get some fresh air, I took in a small grassy park which was nearby and sat on a park bench there to gather my thoughts and to journal what I had experienced so far. I also took stock of my meager equipment. I was glad I had done some research on this world and decided to wear the control gloves gifted to me by the Magister of Glyssis. Powered by crystalline threads, they would allow me to control the more violent individuals I might encounter by a form of telekinesis which works with a world's latent gravitational and magnetic fields. It has always been my contention to use non-lethal forms of self-defense first, like the shock rod I used on my mainland expedition and I considered the gloves perfect for this goal. An item that rarely failed upon dimensional arrival, I still gave them a test run by using it to manipulate the branches of a nearby tree.

A leather carrying pouch with various crystals was still intact but taking them out and attempting to activate them brought another disappointment in that few actually appeared to work. The greatest discouragement being the flying crystal, which I had grown used to using throughout my Mainland Expedition, were not active. One of the hazards of working with crystals is a situation called "arrival failure." This occurs when the resonance of the crystal itself fails to work within a certain world's magical energies or, alternatively, they take various amounts of time to adapt to those new energies. Only time would tell in regard to the ones that sat dark and lightless in my hand as I tried activating them. I was happy, however, to note that the greenish Alonum which would allow me to not only heal myself but others was working strongly. One must work with what they have, I thought to myself as I tucked them into my belt holders. As I stood to begin a small stroll a cry of alarm drew my attention.

Nearby, a citizen was being assaulted by a rough looking group of rogues carrying clubs and wearing kerchiefs to conceal their features. The older woman, distraught, was in obvious peril and without hesitation I raced to her defense. Activating my gloves, I locked one brigand into place and then flung another into the air. The woman ran for safety and I turned to deal with the one which had drawn a handgun.

In the end, they were ill-equipped to deal with the crystalline magic and unable to stand the strain it put on their systems. Within moments, they were unconscious and on the ground. Unsure of what to do at this point, I nearly returned back to my small apartment but another masked individual dressed in bright reds and blues ran to the scene. With a quick explanation and demonstration, he showed me how I could attach small electronic homing markers on any criminals I stop and the city would teleport them to a safe location. As a final gesture, he tossed something small onto each unconscious hoodlum. They immediately began to fade away as part of a slow teleportation process. The man then left before I could record his name.

Then, like the surface of a pond settling after a disturbance, it was as if the event never happened.

I stood there mulling over what had occurred. Around me, the city continued in its pace. I moved back to my equipment at the park table and tried to write down what has happened so far. I have been here writing for perhaps two hours and have just brought the entire story so far to the present. By seeing it in front of me the full weight of my situation has settled around me. What research I had been able to find on this world was light. It had not prepared me for the full scope of what is happening here. To be truthful, I had not expected a world or its people to be so powerful in their abilities and so capable with inter-dimensional travel. It is almost as if this place IS on the verge of becoming a registered dimensional harbor but it just doesn't know it yet.

And... I am stranded here.

Until I can either find a way to connect to my crew, or they to me, I will remain here. I suppose, considering the vast potential I have seen here in so short of a time, it is possible that MAGI might find a way for me to rebuild my shuttle. Azuria has also mentioned another group called Portal which holds an interest in other dimensions. I realized with a chuckle that if there were a place for an interdimensional explorer to be stuck, this would be it. As my mentor was fond of saying, "Tis all a matter of your perspective and your attitude."

Even as I write this there is the staccato of gunfire and a painful cry just a block or two away. It jars me back to the present even more so and I realize that although I have my own questions to wrestle with, I am also needed here. My thought flashes back to the small, nearly forgotten statement from the mystic who visited my ship just before I left, "All will be needed." From my experiences and observations so far it is obvious that this world is caught in a massive struggle with darker forces that wish to harness its potential for their own purposes.

And so, while I am here, I will lend my skills to the engagement.

I wrap this entry up and I hope that, if nothing else, it will get to my crew. I am not sure entirely how but they are a wily and resourceful bunch. As I have always done, I will continue to keep a record of my thoughts and experiences here when I have the time. However, there is so much for me to get done here I do not know, for certain, when that might be.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Hitting The Ground Running

Gathering what little remained of import from the wreckage of my shuttle, I headed towards the tall central building which I could see in the distance. I was stunned again by the architecture and the statues placed around the building. As stated previously, I had studied what I knew of this world and knew that in this particular stream a large percentage of the populace were gifted with amazing abilities. It was a humbling experience to be walking up to such a structure. As I grew nearer, individuals dressed in bright clothing, masks, and capes ran or flew past. In a way, it was like walking into a dream, a vibrant energetic place of activity and color. However, it also seemed a place for extremes for as much as there was animation and brilliance there was also a sense of foreboding and danger. For every colorful individual I saw, I witnessed at least three more shadowy figures standing in the shadows. A block away there was the sound of gunfire and the sound of some sort of explosion. Not knowing how my equipment would work, I shied away from these encounters for now and moved towards my goal.

I drew closer to the central building I could see more and more assorted individuals gathered under a monolithic statue. I mentioned the statue in my first entry, a huge stone man carrying the world on his back. It was obvious that under the legs of that statue was a gathering location for several individuals in bright wardrobes had come here to sit, float, and discuss things. Amongst this crowd and dressed in my typical grey travel coat, slacks, black gloves, and upper leather and brass armor I was unassuming. I was taken no notice of as I entered the building carrying the remains of my equipment and followed the directions to the MAGI office and Azuria.

As I imagined, she was expecting me. Seeing me enter, she gave a wave of dismissal to a red skinned fellow in black robes and what looked like horns coming out of his shoulders. Her penetrating eyes glanced over my equipment and my ragged appearance in a quick scan and then she smiled, "Captain, welcome to Earth, welcome to Paragon City."

In the discussion that followed I was surprised to learn that not only had a team of mystics sensed my presence in the Otherworld as I came near, they also had been able to divine my name and my past. Though the depth of their knowledge did not startle me, I was impressed the amount of power she held in check with a wave of her authoritative hand. Dimensional visitors, so I was told, were nothing knew to her or her team. However, Otherworld ships and their crew were and she expressed curiosity to my mission here.

Between quick interviews with what appeared to be an unending flow of magical humans and entities, she explained much to me about the place where I had landed and I told her of my mission to record what I could of not only the city but whatever critical event was about to occur. She had some tea brought for me and I was able to explore some of the many artifacts stored in the MAGI office. She explained I would be required to carry a registration card and would need to stay in contact with her as much as possible. As she could, she would grant me higher security levels which would enable me access to various areas of not only the city but of Magi. All standard procedure for a new in-bound hero. Although I refuted the hero title, she continued to use it and instructed me that it was "what we do around here."

She asked to look at my equipment so she could guarantee to her supervisors I had brought nothing world-shattering to her dimension. Amused by this, I showed her what little supplies I had and made sure to show her my crystalline powered items including my gloves, my flying crystals, and other items apparently undamaged in their small crate.

After the review, she stated that she would put some people towards getting me back in communication with my ship still orbiting in the Otherworld as well helping me to find a place to stay. She also, rather boldly, asked that if I were to be visiting Paragon for an extended time if I could help out with matters at hand. I agreed to this since it seemed more then a fair trade and, inspired by her boldness, asked her to dinner. Amused by my forwardness, she demurely stated she was not available for awhile due to MAGI matters but I did get a small promise of perhaps a lunch. It was at that point she complimented me on being able to "hit the ground running" regarding my arrival to her plane of existence.

It is, after all, one of the strengths of an Otherworld traveller.

I left her to her duties at that point and with my sharp cornered registration card walked back outside to sit and take a harder look around me at not only the scenery but the vast number of "heroes" on the move. I tried to contact my vessel one last time with the spare crystal I had but was greeted only with silence. I sat for some time and watched the sights. There is a profound moment that exists at the very beginning of an adventure and I wanted to drink it in. And while waiting for the MAGI contact which Azuria promised would find me, I sat and watched and waited.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A New Horizon

It was some time ago that I stepped onto my deck of my Otherworld airship from the landing dock of the Albatross shuttle. Having gotten the word several weeks ago that I was needed on the ship for repairs, I left behind fair Caledonia and my friends elsewhere on the mainland with any real word of my departure. During that time, over two months ago, I first received word via our communicators that an event of massive dimensional proportions was happening elsewhere. What had first started as a simple repair and refit mission had turned, with a simple communique from a trusted friend, into a full blown mission into the Otherworld space. We were headed out and I carried a heavy heart as I charted our course, carrying us out of contact with the world I spent so much time exploring.

I had known for some time that I this would happen, that in our explorations, we would need to pull anchor and set a new course. As I left the aural orbit, I ordered the First-Mate to fire a beacon. Soon afterwards, the sails filled with energy and I could feel the deck beneath my shoes lurch as the crystalline drive began to power up. I did know one thing for certain. We would be back this way again.

Our destination was a dimensional and temporal river whose source was none other then Earth herself. I had ventured through Terran dimensional time-streams before and this one was no different. It took little time to reach and while we traveled I briefed myself as best I could on our new harbor full of the amazing and the spectacular. This is the thing that most cannot get used to in Otherworld travel is the mix of familiarity and strangeness that greets you upon returning to the place you think you should call home. This landing was no different.

According to my information, this particular time stream was about to undergo a massive and chaotic event which would shake its temporal, emotional, and dimensional foundations. The other thing that concerned me was how many dimensional rifts, holes, and portals where constantly coming and going into and out of this world. Upon arrival you would think you had sailed into to a major Otherworld port like Tangyryssis with its curving silica arrival docks and highly proficient handlers. But, this was not the case and I and the crew were greeted with a scene that resembled more of a busy ant nest then an organized dimensional crossroad. Our instruments recorded hundreds of portals being opened, some mystical, some random, and some of a more calculated technological origin.

Anchoring near a Darlson reef, we watched for some time until a safe entry could be charted. However, the randomness was of great concern not only to myself but my first mate. We lay there for several days monitoring the situation before determining it would be safe for me to enter into the worldspace upon the shuttle. As the craft was prepared and I gathered my final supplies, I heard a commotion from my crew upon a deck.

Leaving my cabin, I was impressed to see an astral form in intricate robes hovering over the rough wooden planks of my main deck. He was an older man, thin in the face but with bright blue eyes and still powerful shoulders hidden beneath his garments. He claimed to have sensed the arrival of my ship and its crew and had arrived to speak with me personally. Per his request, I will not speak his name but he did identify himself as an ally to a mystical organization founded in this worldspace which called itself MAGI. He asked what my goals might be and I explained that I was here for observational purposes and to help where I could. He instructed me to land near a place called Paragon City and more importantly, to seek out a mystic by the name of Azuria who would get me acquainted with this dimensional space. He did not say much more and left me with only a simple phrase, "All will be needed."

Since the city seemed to be one of the major centers of dimensional instability, I had already marked it as my main landing. Having him confirm my observations settled my nerves a bit and within the hour my ship had breached a stable dimensional rift just large enough to allow the entrance of my shuttle. With a hug from my first mate and a host of salty comments about my health from my crew, I boarded the Albatross and made for the opening.

At the exact moment I was about to pass through the rift, another portal was fired from within the worldspace which swirled far to close to my own. The portal, a swirling greenish thing that filled my ears with dark chantings and distant screams, slammed into the side of my shuttle and sent me sprawling. Scrambling to find purchase on the deck and quickly lashing my wrist with a line from the main mast, I was able to keep from falling into Otherspace as the Albatross shook and twisted. Within seconds, the rift had become unstable and my small shuttle was being pulled into what had gone from a stable light blue dimensional swirl to a twisting and angry green vortex.

Knowing the only way was through, I pulled myself to my feet and pulled the rudder wheel for all it was worth, aiming for the direct center. I cannot recall what happened next except that I remember the screeching sound of tormented lumber and being flung into the port side gunwale. I heard my name cried out over the communication crystal and then there was nothing but spinning and the feeling that my bones were curdled jelly and being pulled from the pores of my skin.

I came to with my face pressed against thick green grass, the warmth of a sun upon my skin, and the remains of my shuttle and my supplies all around me. Slowly gaining a sitting position and wiping blood from a small cut on the side of my head, I tried the communications and was rewarded with a crackle, static, and then the faint sound of my first mate. Looking around, I could see that I had crash landed in a large and vibrant city. Surveying my items I found that most of my equipment had landed unscathed and as I was offering up a quick thank you to the Universal winds, I realized I was not alone.

A bald man with a well trimeed goatee and wearing a collection of dark brown and orange loose-fitting clothing hovered over the ground near me. A cloak billowed out behind him as he folded his arms and considered me silently. As I gathered my things among the splintered and twisted wood, I introduced myself. He informed me in a deep but steady voice that Azuria was waiting on me and that I should head toward City Hall. And, with that, he pointed towards a large stone building flanked by massive sculptures of human figures all of which were dwarfed by a larger statue of a massive man carrying a massive globe on his back. Finally, with a wave of his hand, an energy settled over me and my forehead cut was healed. "You should head there soon, before someone else finds you." He said simply and then, almost as if he had nearly forgotten, "Welcome to Paragon." He gave a slight smile and before I could tell him thank you for the directions, he was gone, lifting up towards the top of the massive stone buildings.

As I stood, I got my first look at the new world I was to explore. The sights that awaited for me immediately sent me scrambling for my imaging device which I found slightly damaged but nearby. After some quick tweaking, I happily discovered that it appeared to still be working. I took a quick shot of myself outside a massive steel gate as a test shot. If I am able to get it working to its full capacity I will record more pictures as soon as possible. When I am able I will record the events of my conversation with this mysterious Azuria.