There’s nothing quite like smokey atmosphere of Britain on November the 5th. Alas I was enjoying the crisp mountain air of the Canadian Rockies last night.
Agent Mina, Icarus and I took a ‘copter a hundred klicks north, found a nice woodland clearing where there was a nice clear residual on the slendetector and got ready for a little ritual.
Mina had had a thought. An idea and we thought we should test out. I should explain that before she took an extra level in badass and gained the immortal feat Mina was a highly specialised Benedanti tasked with inoculating the world against parasitic hell-dimensions. Something about her being a direct descendant of the witch-kings of Frulli, the area of Italy from where the Benedanti abilities originate. But then she has a very complicated family tree from what I’ve heard.
Anyway there we were. We marked a six meter diameter Operator sigil into the turf with accelerant and matches, pulled on some V-for-Vendetta style Guy Fawkes masks enchanted to preserve our anonymity and prepared our sacrificial victim.
Then we summoned ourselves up the Slender Man.
The entity appeared in the centre of the burning cross, looming down at us. Each of us stood in one quarter of the circle, our sacrifice in the fourth. The entity’s tentacles lashed out to shred the sacrifice to tatters. It stood hunched over for a few moments as it examined its feast. The sacrifice’s Guy Fawkes mask fluttered to the ground.
Instead of flesh, blood, bone and offal it had found rags and newsprint wrapped in the cast-off clothing of some runners.
“Penny of the guy, guv’nor?” Icarus asked it.
It turned slowly, it’s malign influence lashing out at us much as it’s tentacles had at the sacrificial ‘victim’. But it’s power clashed off of Mina’s will like a bucket of water against a sea wall while Icarus and I were filled with something completely different. Around my hand my ‘omnitool’ glowed with an emerald light while Icarus’s aura was aflame to even the least sensitive eyes. Even Mina’s clothing had changed to something completely impractical in the weather and around her waist a ‘utility’ belt.
The Dreamlands had come to the material world.
Mina’s idea was based off of something the Fae said when she and Cutty were having that girls day out after I was shot in the back with elf-shot. They called the entity a “Fraudulent God.” This got Mina thinking. The closest definition she could come to was someone of god-like ability who hadn’t actually undergone apotheosis. She came up with two options; a paragon level dramaturge or a paragon level Benedanti. By paragon we mean someone whose abilities directly effect the material world.
A dramaturge that powerful could rewrite reality with a story; it would have already happened and there’d be next to nothing we could do about it. A Benedanti that powerful could warp reality around them like it was the fabric of a lucid dream. Only there aren’t any Benedanti that powerful. A Benedanti that powerful is like the holy grail to the department.
Then she thought about the Malandanti; the Benedanti’s evil twins. They have exactly the same abilities but twisted to evil. What if one of them had reached paragon level of ability. It would be impossible for them to remain hidden without some sort of disguise and taking the form of Victor Surge’s Slenderman would be the perfect disguise. They could use the form of the entity as a tool in much the same way my abilities manifest as an omnitool.
I wasn’t sure but she suggested an experiment; we summon the entity and if the rules of the dreamlands surround it then we know that it is probably some form of Super-Malandanti. If they don’t then we run away with Mina making a fighting retreat for us.
So there we were. Slendy, Mina, Icarus and I. I now owe Mina a bottle of whisky. I snapped my fingers and a green dome closed over the four of us.
“Hello Slender Man,” I said reaching into my pocket and grasping the haft of the haft of the sword I had there, “We’re with the department and you’ve been a very naughty boy.”
“We’re not trapped in here with you,” Mina told Slendy as she drew her swords, “You’re trapped in here with us.”
Icarus hit it with Treacle Time, slowing it right down as Mina and I moved towards it. Tentacles flailed towards us. Mina sliced through all of them before they reached us. One step, two step, Mina raised her swords for a decapitation strike as I drew Caladcholg from my deep pocket.
Mina struck but Slendy sacrificed two of it’s tentacles to deflect her blows. She kicked him where the solar plexus would be in a human being and Slendy fell on his scrawny arse like a log. I stood over him and raised a sword that could strike down an army or cut a hill in half with a single blow. Slendy changed tactics and slammed it’s tentacles into the ground which erupted around us, burning sod flying. It was the turn of Mina and I to fall unceremoniously to our posteriors.
While I kept my grip on my sword I lost it with the dome. It vanished and an instant later so was the entity.
Mina looked over at me as we climbed to our feet. “That’s three bottles of monkey shoulder” she said with a grin.
“Two,” I replied, “We summoned it and we fooled it but you’ve not proven it’s malandati.”
“What else could it be?” Icarus asked. “It brought the dreamlands with it.”
“It might be so alien to our worlds that it can only exist here buffered by the dreamlands.” I said. “Or it could be a native to the dreamlands like we first suspected.”
“Or it could be malandanti.”
“In which case so could the rest of the Fears.” Icarus said.
“The only thing we know for sure,” I said, “is it has a new weakness…”
“When it shows up every Benedanti within sight goes Paragon.”
I looked over at Mina. “That’s something we need to train for,” I said, “Only I have no idea how to train for that.”
“We need some anti-Glamour training,” she said, “It’s the closest thing we’ve got. Only I don’t know how we’re going to get it or afford it.” I sheathed Caladcholg back in my pocket and Mina grinned. “How did you requisition that?”
“I don’t recall,” I said with a smile, “You know how my seizures can mess up my memories.”
We were quiet as we headed back to the chopper. This is something we’re going to have to work on.