φCadeφ bobs his head slowly to the pounding music that blares out of his speakers. His feet are kicked up on his desk and one of the Shadowlands tomes sits open on his lap. As he pores over the text, Hecatrix plays through one of her saves on Planescape: Torment. Cade is particularly proud of that little idea, using such a role playing intensive video game, with real

consequences and an alignment system to help teach her about human interactions. The second monitor is open to a document where Cade is using his augmented reality interface to take snapshots of interesting or particularly important passages in the tome and collect them in a single spot for easier reference. The Shadowlands, as it turns out, are enormous, with multiple layers much like

the Umbra. The storm that they saw sounds much like the Tempest, a raging spiritual Maelstrom that plagues the realm, though how the demon managed to bring that effect across the shroud is beyond him. So far, his research has led him to believe that the realm the group was pulled into is known as Purgatory. A start at least. The third and final monitor is, as always, open to the chat

service that his technopagan group uses. Despite how much he hates putting them at potential risk by getting them involved in Awakened affairs, Cade is at his wits end trying to find information on demonology and is hoping that they might have access to some legitimate resources. He isn’t getting his hopes up, but times look as though they will get more and more desparate and he always

believed in being prepared. Every once in a while he grins and shakes his head at Hecatrix. Try though she might, she cannot maintain an alignment other than Lawful Neutral in her game. Though he does occasionally answer questions, Cade mostly leaves her to her own devices, wanting her to get used to learning through experimentation instead of always relying on his input. Besides that,

he is intently focused on his Shadowlands research and tactfully probing to see if his friends have any useful information. He decided against outright asking them, not only because he doesn’t want them to worry about him, but also because he doesn’t want them to go digging too much on their own. He would not be able to live with himself if someone in the group got dragged into the world

of infernalism because of his inquiries. Not for the first time, Cade laments that he is the only member of the group to have Awakened. Sure, the mages of New Orleans have been welcoming and very friendly, but he has known many of the members of this group since he was in middle school. It would be nice to be able to see both those halves of his life come together. He would just send

them a copy of the video game his Aunt Lucinda had collaborated on to assist in his own Awakening, but she had included a warning against that. That game had been very specifically programmed with him in mind and it was unlikely to work for anyone else, and because of the amount of information regarding his own practices it contained, having it potentially leaked on the web could be

risky if the wrong people found it. And all of that didn’t even take into account the encoded spells that were keyed to his Avatar and mental landscape. Disabling them would make the game useless, someone else attempting to use them might be hurt, and they were far to advanced for him to alter.

φCadeφ wheels over to his nightstand and picks up his copy of ‘Principles of the Material form and Spatial Relativity: A Guide to Conjuration’ and sets it on his lap above the Shadowlands primer. Perhaps by combining conjuration magic with some knowledge of the Shadowlands he could help design some sort of summoning spell to yank Cassian and Kitt back to the material

world. Even if it only worked temporarily, or only called up their spiritual selves it would give them a chance to communicate with those on this side of the Shroud who were working to bring them back. If they could give a first hand account of what they were seeing and experiencing they should be able to confirm his suspicions that they were, ing fact, in Purgatory. Knowing for sure

that was the layer they were trapped in would help in figuring out how to send a beacon for them to follow. Obviously the spell would be beyond what little necromantic magics Cade possessed, not to mention the very basic abilities he would be able to learn from the grimoire in such a short time, but he didn’t need to be able to cast the spell, just get a workable theory on how to do it

that a more experienced mage could work from. Even if it didn’t work, he could at least bring his theories to Ramirez and they could collaborate from there. It felt good to have made at least a little progress.