Death Of A Dimension - Part 2

Death Of A Dimension - Part 2

[ This section is me, but I still think DawnCharger deserves co-author credit. This series of stories wouldn’t exist without his input.

In this part Áinfean, the eldest of the triplets and who is still in their home dimension and timeline. She finds the Third Age Pocket Safe that had indeed found its way to her. Just as Mr LeJean had told Ceara it would. ]

{{Early spring 2036 in a dimension that is an unknown ‘whatever’ from now.}}

Áinfean And The Pocket Safe

Winter was clinging to Southwestern Ireland tenaciously. Well, it could be a persistent winter. The skies were dark and foreboding, thunder threatened and lightning crackled. It would certainly be comforting to think this was just a late winter. However, those that remained of Gaia’s defenders knew better.

Áinfean Niamh Ní Nial, AKA Áiny, is pacing anxiously in her room. The filth was pressing and the situation was dire. Worse (in her mind), It has been nearly eight weeks since her idiot brother Faolán had fv<ked with what proved to be an unstable Chaos attuned artefact. (And yes, she was aware of the irony of that label.)

She and Ceara had set to work trying to find out what happened. What information they could glean from the records was that this item was related somehow to the Time-Tombs such as had been found and extensively studied by Roxana Hyperion, once a lover of their mother

Using the information they’d gleaned from her research and what they knew of the artefact Ceara had set out for the Time-Tomb to try and find him. The sisters had hoped that she would have found their brother quickly, but she’d been gone for almost four weeks now.

The young woman was trying hard to control her growing anxiety. Keeping the fact that both her siblings were missing was becoming difficult to maintain. Initially it had been fairly easy. The triplets were experts at covering for each other. She simply used the he/she’s-with-the-other-sibling routine.

After Ceara ‘travelled’, the next two weeks were covered by the story that she and Faolán were checking out another tip-off regarding Egypt. Áiny had diligently been able to fabricate false reports to keep suspicions at bay.

Then the situation had become unthinkably worse: less than a week ago, a filth bomb detonated in Dublin. The explosion had taken most of the population with it … among the casualties, their younger siblings Branán and Freya.

Mum and Da were beside themselves. The mood at The Barn was more than vengeful … it was dark … final. Mum in was in a take-no-prisoners mood … quite literally if the most recent mission was any measure. She wanted her Liahund and Ceara home and the violence of her Da’s grief was just barely contained.

So far her distraught parents hadn’t pressed her too hard about Ceara and Faolán’s location. Almost as soon as the news concerning the twins had come in they headed off to scout around Dublin. Hoping against hope that the reports were wrong. Looking for anything that may suggest the twins had survived. They were expected back any day now and Ceara and Faolán’s whereabouts would soon be her parents’ foremost concern.

Releasing an exasperated, huffing mumble, “Fv<k! Fv<k! Fv<kity Fv<k! What a mess.” While not the expert at profanity like her sister, Ceara. The situation did call for it.

As she continued her worried pacing about the room. At least this was until her bare foot came into contact with something. She had stubbed her right great toe on ‘that something’, kicking it across the floor and under her bed.

“Loki you prick, what the fv<k was that?”

Kneeling down she reaches under the bed to find whatever she’d kicked. Her hand locates the something … the something was cylindrical, nearly two inches in diameter and perhaps six or seven inches long, encased in a leather pouch.

Taking the object, she sits on the floor and leans back on the bed. Opening the pouch she finds it contains a cylindrical object made up of seven rotatable rings, an end cap and a lid.

Each of the seven rings allowed for a choice of digit from zero to nine. On the lid there was a short engraving in the form of musical notes and two runes … a Haglaz and a smaller Fehu. The base was non-descript.

The strategist of the three, the bookworm, the studious one, Áinfean immediately recognized this device as an early pocket safe. To open it you had to know the exact code. They were usually trapped so the contents would be destroyed, by acid or something similar, should an attempt be made to open it without using the correct code.

This tube had not been in her room this morning. Unlike her siblings, she was fastidious in cleaning her quarters. Moreover, no one else would enter them without leave, not to mention the warding that was in place.

She rolls the object repeatedly, examining it from all sides. Finally, she settles on the engraved cap. It can’t be coincidence that the two runes were Hagalaz and Fehu AND that the Fehu was small compared to the Hagalaz. They were the runes of her brother and sister, just as the Wunjo rune was hers. Áinfean was positive that this was from Ceara and Faolán, somehow.

But what’s the code?

Try as she might, she couldn’t work out any reasonable answer by putting values on the notes. For a start there were more notes than rings. Where would you know where to start in the note sequence?

She sits tapping the end of the tube against her chin as she runs through various options. Maybe it’s simpler than she’s making it out to be, this probably isn’t some complicated mathematical formula. Maybe the hint is in the tune … She starts to hum the notes … stops … Hums it again …

“Of course, it’s ‘Happy Birthday’!”

Her brow furrows and she starts tapping her chin with the tube again. “Okay … Happy Birthday, followed by a larger Hagalaz and a smaller Fehu.” She huffs a little, “How does that help me?” She again starts tapping with the tube, “I need numbers … seven numbers … It has to be something to do with our birthday, 20, November 2018. Wait … Fv<k! That’s eight digits!”

She repeatedly looks from the notes to the runes and back again. Her thoughts flipped from clue to clue, seemingly at random - Happy Birthday? … our birth date? …How did the tube get here? … Back and forth. She stops and forces her hands and the tube onto her lap and she closes her eyes while taking three, deliberately slow and deep breaths.

“Okay, focus Áinfean Niamh Ní Nial!” She’s usually only called by her ‘formal’ name when she’s expected to think about what she’s been doing or has done.

The size of the Hagalaz and the Fehu are significant … somehow and maybe just leave off the twenty from 2018 …” She groans, “But that leaves us with only six digits.”

Almost crying in frustration, she returns to tapping the tube on her chin as she tries to work out the code and find the seventh digit and she is very aware that she’s only got one go at this.

Thinking aloud, “The song ‘Happy Birthday’ has to relate to our birthday. Otherwise, why send this song? But our full birthday doesn’t fit … Logically removing the ‘20’ is the first cut … This leaves us with 112018, but this leaves the code one digit short … Her eyes widened … Hence, the presence of the runes.”

A huge smile breaks on her face as all the clues fall into place. “The runes serve two purposes: it indicates the tube is from Ceara and Faolán, and the ascendant rune with regard to the code is the Hagalaz. This is Ceara’s … her smile fades a little … How does this help me?

I’ve got the first six digits, the truncated form of our birthday … The runes have to be the clue to the seventh digit. The Hagelaz is definitely larger than the Feru … Why? Was it birth order? … It has to be the birth order! … The last digit is two!

Without further delay, Áinfean starts setting the code wheels from front to back … 1120182. Holding her breath, she twists the cap and breaks the seal.

Just as she lifts the cap from the tube she almost suffers a heart attack as the compound is shaken by a loud explosion and alarms sound. She gives herself a second to push her heart down from her throat, finally allowing herself to breathe as the ‘All Clear’ sounds.

These direct attacks on The Barn were a relatively new thing. So far the mundane defences in conjunction with the more arcane ones, including the Third Age wards, had kept the enemy at bay. Though the fact that they were being directly attacked at all was considerably concerning.

Breathing again she returns her attention to the now-open pocket safe. First she carefully examined the opening for any sign of secondary traps, such as small poisoned pins or sharp edges designed to keep the contents safe from unwelcome eyes. All she found was a small rolled sheet of paper about B4 size.

On unrolling the small sheet of paper it’s covered in Ceara’s concise, sharp script.

I’ve found him. It’s not just the past. Things are very different here. In the couple of weeks between Poo travelling and me following, he has lived about 18 months in this world. I am uncertain how long has passed at home since I followed … but I have been here another 18 months or so.

You shifted first, in the suds.

There is more, something important. Too much for here. I have found a way we can meet. Look for a shop in Dublin called The Rift. It’s presently off Castle Street, near Dublin Castle.


Interestingly, the last paragraph has been crossed out and just after Ceara’s signature a new paragraph has been written in a flowing, almost Old English styled script, in red ink.


Since the filth, seek The Rift on Oliver Plunkett Street, Cork - near the Comic Vault. Anytime after 6pm. Guí go dtí an Lofn.
The Shopkeeper

Áinfean reads the note repeatedly, willing it to provide more information than is currently obvious. Allowing her hands to drop to her lap, she gasps. “Holy fv<k … she did it.” Then her lips purse. How can she be sure this is Ceara?

Reviewing the evidence at hand, it all seems to point to her. She developed the code knowing how her sister would go about solving it, but the most significant thing was the line “You shifted first, in the suds.”

No one but us three know this.

Time dilation wasn’t something she’d banked on. To be fair, she hadn’t given the possibility any thought at all.

The changed last paragraph was intriguing. “Since the filth.”

The bomb in Dublin was less than a week or so ago, Ceara would have no clue about it. Who, or what, is the Shopkeeper? This change was not made by Ceara, otherwise she’d have simply directed them to Cork straight off. Further, the tube’s seal had been intact when she’d opened it.

Dublin had only recently been destroyed, and by way of a filth bomb and the note appears to have been adjusted after the seal was set, probably magically. Sadly nothing about this gave her any indication as to if this was genuine or an elaborate trap.

Racked by indecision, she sat for a time trying to decide the best course of action, her eyes drawn back to the sentence written in Gaeilge “Guí go dtí an Lofn” - “Pray to Lofn”. Thinking it couldn’t hurt, sets the sheet and tube on her lap and she clears her mind. She petitions the goddess for guidance. Nothing happens.

Sighing in frustration she slaps the floor before picking up the tube, examining it again to see if she’d missed something still inside. As she manoeuvres the safe, to better have light shine down it, she detects the faint but definite scent of Lavender.

Checking the time, she needs to get to Cork, before it too is overrun.

Next: Death Of A Dimension - Part 3

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