Chapter III

     "There, Mount Eldred," pointed out Dangerously on a hand-drawn map. "This is where the Prophets reside, and the region of the world you would do best to avoid, or for now at the least."
     "We cannot tell you that this is a perfect rendering of the Bane World," spoke the Drum Boy, "but by comparing the mess of charts Lord Psycho has collected, we believe it to be topographically accurate. However, we don't know whether the marked villages and whatnot are still where the map claims. Much of the information we pulled this from is centuries old."
     "So is he just supposed to wander about for the rest of his life avoiding those guys?" asked Jester. "It would be a lot safer for him if we just let him take up residence in the castle, you realize."
     "We aren't trying to desert him," responded Dangerously. "He has to find out why the Prophets have it in for him, and Drum Boy and I intend to accompany him for at least a part of the journey. I see it as a way for me to keep an eye on the both of them."
     "You'll really come with me?" asked Tim.
     "Count me in, too!" spoke Extremely.
     "And me!" chimed Jester.
     "No, we can't have all three of us leaving Castle Psycho," explained Dangerously, "and I wouldn't leave either, except that I too would like to know what it is which has the Prophets so uptight. I have a feeling that it is something which may concern more than just our friend here."
     "If you're coming with me, then tell me where we're going to start," spoke Tim, trying to make sense of the map he was holding.
     "Really, it's up to you where your travels will bring you," answered the Drum Boy. "I've seen much of the world, and I know of quite a few places of interest. I can tell you now that if you have any wish to return to Human Earth, you must visit the City, but this is not a visit one would ever make alone."
     "Why the City?"
     "We'll explain later," intermitted Dangerously. "Right now we have to prepare for a long journey. We'll take the cart to the edge of our lands where the road ends, and from there we're on foot."

     Aries, Bane of Pimpin', was walking along a riverbank when a body slowly emerged from the slow current and threw itself onto dry ground. The figure vomited water from the mouth of a shriveled, pink, hairless head. Coughing wildly, he began to breathe the air and spat up more river water.
     "Hm, I can't remember the last time I cut a head off a regenerative," thought Aries aloud. The bane of Pimpin' continued along the riverbank path, leaving the regenerative to himself on the shore.
     The drenched man felt at his wrinkled face. "A completely new one," he growled. "This must've taken more than a week! I wonder if one of the other followers has killed him yet."
     No, Ryan. The transgressor is still alive and still within your vicinity, but he's moving. See to it he's destroyed this time. Ryan received this message as a fleeting thought.
     "I won't fail you again," he promised aloud. Crawling further from the water, the regenerative began in vain to try to influence the shape his new face would take.

     "The screen was built first, and the city soon developed around it as curious banes flocked to be near the device," explained Psycho to his two companions who sat in the cart. "I'm not entirely sure of all the details, but..."
     "Well then you pay attention to the butabull's reins and I'll explain it," interrupted Drum Boy smugly. Psycho stared him down, but let him continue anyway. "It was the crowning achievement of the Builders, under the direction of one of the renegade Prophets. I believe what he wanted from them was a portal. They were all enthusiastic over the idea and set to work on it immediately. The entire project took the lot of them only two full days to complete, a large square frame with some kind of transmission and remission properties. All that was left was for the dark Prophet to try and enchant it using his mental link to Earth, the same as Lord Psycho and I posses."
     "Only he wasn't a very trustworthy consort," intermitted Psycho.
     "With their portion of the task complete, the dark Prophet powered his fist with some kind of summoned lightning to destroy them all. One of the Builders, a more dominant individual than the rest, charged the betrayer before he could attack, and the two fell backward into the device. The Prophet, quite literally shocked, released the blast into the screen and fell. The Builder seeped into screen and fell to a street which was now visible on the other side. The Builders observed as their comrade stood and walked away, now part of the world of the visions the screen would display from thereon."
     "So the screen really is a portal to Earth?" asked Tim enthusiastically.
     "No," spoke Psycho. "If that was so, none of the banes would remain here."
     "The portal only worked for the one time. Since then it's done no more than show images of Earth. Hundreds of banes stormed the region afterward and a lot of fighting ensued, but never has the portal worked again."
     "What happened to the dark Prophet?" asked Tim.
     "He was dead," replied Psycho. "Funny thing is, he never came back under a new form. It's believed that it's his free will enfused within the screen which gave it the power to link to Earth and present us with the visions."
     "So if the thing doesn't work as a portal anymore, what could we hope to get from it?" questioned Tim.
     "If you're really from Earth, you may be able to recognize something, anything," spoke Drum Boy. "If not, perhaps the mere fact you're from Earth will get the portal working again."
     Tim knew that result to be out of the question, but he was intrigued nonetheless. "We should definitely go see it, then."
     "Two problems, though," explained Psycho. "First is getting there, but I think I know a way. Second is the residents of the City. They're not a very happy bunch. Some of the most bitter and angry inhabitants of the Bane World live there waiting for a chance to escape. It may be impossible to even approach the screen without a confrontation."
     "What if it doesn't work at all?" asked Drum Boy. "We never really discussed what we'd do in such a case."
     "Then we follow your idea," responded Psycho. "Enlist certain help to pay the Prophets a visit."
     "So how are we getting to the City?" queried Tim.
     "We're going to visit some people I've worked with before," explained Psycho. "Right now, however, we've reached the end of the road. The butabull knows his way back to the castle, but we must proceed on foot." The three filed out of the cart at a rope bridge. Psycho turned the butabull around and smacked it's hindside with the handle of his axe. The beast took off back down the path hauling the carriage noisily behind it.

[Chapter II] [Chapter IV]

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