Dylan is in the throne room of Dominic's new Cathedral, and he's surrounded by the Fallen, chanting, awaiting their Master's appearance. They welcome Dylan with open arms and smiling faces with hollow looks of joy. Dylan joins them, chanting, waiting, looking up toward the dark ceiling above.
And he waits.
And eventually he gets bored. So he wanders off. Dylan, not having a Heart, starts getting very lost in the new Spires, seeing libraries and offices and chambers and the like. But he can't seem to get back to the throne room, no matter he does. So he tracks down an Impudite, and finds one (oddly enough in Hell) and tries to get her to teach him some Helltongue. She intruduces herself as Zophoron, and leads him into a small bare room with a table and a pair of chairs. She launches into teaching him t he basics, when she gets cut off, and dragged out. Again, Dylan is alone, and still lost, and still wandering around.
He leaves the room and wanders through the hallways again, always wanting to find the throneroom, to return to waiting for the Master. He passes more sights - torture rooms, the long lines of sentencing. He finds a Habbalah in the halls, but it talks to fast to be able to follow it's directions, and continues lost. He stops to look at some torture equipment, and it's very new and very spikey. He finds a fresh soul, who bows its head and calls him master. Dylan charms some essence out of it - and find s out that this soul was the possession of one very angry Djinn, who attacks. Dylan song of motions the sword out of the Djinn's hand and song of motions himself out of there, but not before the Djinn scrapes his claws across Dylan's ribs and attunes. D ylan teleports out into the middle of a group of congregating Balseraphim, from which he flees with his hands over his ears. He stumbles down the hallway, and opens a door. He gets grabbed and dragged into a darkened room.
He's obviously in a room with someone, as that someone, in the blackness, tells him that he has a knife. Dylan remembers that he's carrying a large sword that he swiped from a Djinn. The voice tells him that he's a very dangerous man, and now Dylan is h is prisoner. And once the lights go on, it reveals a red-haired, manic looking Impudite in a Kobalite uniform, sporting a swiss army knife. Granted it's a knife, but it's nothing like Dylan's knife. Nothing at all.
Then the conversation gets weird. The Impudite refuses to give Dylan his name because he's convinced Dylan will use it in some weird dark ritual. Hey, he's seen alot of strange things here lately, you never know. And Dylan now insists that he won't lea ve the Spires without seeing some sort of satanic ritual. Then it's determined that the rituals are all satanic because, dammit, they're in HELL. This is ineffable logic, and it's also logical that Dylan has the larger knife. So Dylan wins, they'll stop and see a satanic ritual before they leave. The Impudite finally says that Dylan can call him Jack.
So they stop and watch a satanic ritual from above, from a balcony. It has all the properties of a satanic ritual. There are beings in cloaks. There is chanting. There is blood. There is a sacrifice. Jack is non-impressed. On filing out, they get at tacked by the angry Djinn who wants his sword back. Dylan makes an attempt to charm the hell out of him - but luckily, Djinn cannot kill their attuned. So Dylan gets off with having to give up the sword and getting a smack upside the head.
On the way out, they're finally spotted and recognized. Someone yells, "Kill the Kobalites!" and the chase is on. Jack grabs Dylan, and they start running. Jack leads Dylan down flights of stairs, to a large tunnel that seems like some sort of drain. They come out, plunking through some kind of muck, on this large grey featureless plain. As they run from the Spires, they can see them form, large angry spikes stabbing up to the sky, with drains spewing the human sewage of the force stripped and maimed down into piles down below.
But the plain they are on is Gehenna, and they walk. And walk. And walk. No time seems to pass, and the only mark of their passage is the Spires disappearing behind them and the sounds of combat and the smell of gunpowder becoming more real. Jack keep s them going through promises of good beer in Shal-Mari, and explains that they'll be hardly noticed because of Belial and Baal's forces fighting each other neck and neck. They take a circuitous route around the worst of the combat, and stumble on a road that is covered with slowly hiking refugees, trying to get away from the combat. They see the Fortress, a huge buiding of steel plates and turrets and spikes, looking menacing.
Jack explains they're heading for the Train. He doesn't really elaborate on it. On the road, they're given the business by a pair of MPs, who won't except anything less then complete compliance to their bizarre orders or shows of anything less then comp lete bravery. So the Impudim comply, and the MPs go on their way.
Down in the city is the Train station, housed in a huge grey building, there are literally throngs of beings trying to get a ticket. They all want to get out before they get killed, too. Dylan and Jack charm, force, push, and use their superior status t o get through to the front. There, Jack gets to the window. The ticket seller is an old Habbalah who has no interest in letting people on the train. Jack whips out his papers, and Dylan sees them - Keros, Impudite of Dark Comedy, Knight of Comedy. Jac k can get a ticket for himself, but Dylan is more difficult. This begins the ritual of bribery, threats, and veiled insults between Jack on the Habbalite behind hte counter, but eventually, a ticket for Dylan is procured. They run to the train, and get on it just as it is pulling from the station.
The Train is thronged with people, and there are no seats. Dylan and Jack are forced into the compartment where the toilet is at the back of the train. There are sounds of cry, and moan of pain, and the creaking of the train as it shudders side to side. And it doesn't smell very nice. The go over this high wooden bridge over an enormous lake of blood, and the pieces of failed train rides are scene, as wrecks poke out of the mass below.
They pull up to a station just outside the wall between Tartarus and Gehenna. The Wall is huge, and roving armed troops walk back and forth on the platform. A calabite in a porter's uniform with rings pierced through his lip. "Tickets please," he says. On the platform outside, people are taken off the Train and shot by execution squads. The calabite tells them. "They didn't have their tickets." Dylan and Jack hand them over, and the porter punches them. "And have a nice day," he says.
People get on. People get off. Jack and Dylan score a pair of seats, and the train pulls forward into the Tartarus, through the opening in the Wall. Dylan watches the half finished broken buildings, the fires, the factories working constantly and spewi ng sewage into dirty streams. The train makes stops, people get on, people get off, and the air smells of oil and burning flesh. The Train pulls through a long area covered with spotlights, flying robots, and mobile turrets. Then it pulls through anoth er wall into the glare of Perdition.
They get off the Train in Perdition, in an enormous train station. One entire wall has a board for train times, and throngs of people move robotically to one gate or another. Dylan stops at one of the many stands, as a magazine catches his eye. He pick s it up, and flips through it, and sees articles on Dana and Daimon. From the televisons, which are everywhere, he can see shows, news clippings, commentary on the brave Kobalite Mediator who will lead them to the promised land, and Dana's tape playing o ver and over again about how she is going to 'take down the man'.
Dylan follows Jack onto the escalators and into the maw of the Underground. The map of the subway makes his head hurt. The place smells of piss. There are advertisements everywhere for the dubious entertainments of Shal-Mari. And even while he's waiti ng for the train, and listening to a monotonous voice say "Mind the Gap", something white and pulpy reaches out and drags some poor victim to a dubous fate. The trains are packed full, the straps are high up in the sky over his head, and the lights flick er on and off. The train stops and strangely named stops, and Jack mentions that they're getting out at the Casino. Which they do.
Shal-Mari is Shal-Mari - beautiful, glorious, glitzy and shallow. Lilim walk the streets looking for marks. Humans push to get into the gluttonous shops to get the newest craze. Jack mentions that he needs to make a phone call, and disappears for a mom ent. Dylan fends off a pair of Lilim prostitutes, and a drug pusher named Crazy Al. Then Jack returns, and says he's taking Dylan for a good beer, finally. Dylan follows him through the streets, past the rows of the crucified and in stocks, down into t he resturants, through the alleys, and to a small, forgotten back door in an alley. "I don't want everyone to know about this," he says. And he leads Dylan in, where there is nothing but two large Djinn and a high ranking Balseraph waiting for them. And they obviously work for Lust. The Balseraph says to Dylan that she hopes he'll come without a fight, and Dylan does.
Dylan is taken to the Bordello, in its extremely high rent side of Shal-Mari. The Bordello is the Bordello, tastefully decorate, plush carpetting, beautiful. And the Prince is, indeed, in residence. Andrealphus thanks Keros for bringing Dylan to him, a nd nods to the rest as a dismissal. Andre then offers dinner. Is Dylan going to turn it down? Of course not.
Andre's dining room is tasteful, with a long dining table and staffed with servants. They are waited on hand and foot, and the most tasty morsels that can be cooked are available for merely a taste. The dinner is exquisite, and when it is over, Andre te lls Dylan the facts of life. It is facinating, honestly, that Dylan has fallen, but he needs to bind to a prince. Sooner or later, and most likely sooner, the Game will come for him and it will be over. Andre offers Dylan power, a Captainancy, underlin gs, and more power. Dylan claims he needs to think about it. Andre offers Dylan a place to stay in Shal-Mari, near the Bordello. Andre also gives Dylan 48 hours to make up his mind. The Or Else is implied.
Dylan is tossed back onto the streets, and met by Jack, who offers to take him to Erlithan. But Dylan finally ditches him, and goes looking for the Guildhall. He passes a Lilim who is selling sunglasses, and buys a pair. Then he makes his way in, and i s surprised to see that the bottom floor is like a giant career fair. He has a pamphlet shoved into his hands which tells of all the benefits of a young Lilim working for Factions, and hears the sales pitch from the Game. He finds his way to the line wh ich is there to see Lilith. And he waits. And waits. And waits. And waits. It's a long line.
At the front, he gets to the secretary, who looks over his trashed suit and asks if he has an appointment. Dylan admits he does not. The secretary tells him that this will cost him a geas/4. He agrees. He feels the geas bracelet form around him, and h e walks into Lilith's office. She is, to be said, very surprised to see him. She's even more surprised to see him as an Impudite. She wants to know what happened, and Dylan goes through the entire story. Dylan asks if she'll take an Impudite, and she outright refuses. She cannot do that. She explains that Janus probably won't take him back. Is he repentant? Does he want to go back? Dylan wants to go back. Lilith pulls out a geas bauble, and thinks that she can get Eli. Dylan thinks Eli is fine.
Lilith goes to let her secretary know she'll be gone for a short time, and drags Dylan through some of the Guildhall to the terminus of a tether. He's shoved up to the Earth, to a small empty field with no one around. And Lilith proceeds to summon Eli. He does show up, after a while, in a normal looking vessel sporting a tie with a vine of roses. Eli sits down next to Dylan on the grass and asks him what happened. Dylan recants his story again, and Eli is not pleased. Not at all. Eli asks Dylan if he is repenant. Dylan claims to be. Eli explains that Creation is not Wind. Dylan just wants to return to Heaven Eli explains that theis is going to be extremely painful. Dylan simply wants to return to Heaven. Eli tells him that, if this happens ag ain, no one will ever deal with him again. Including himself.
And so Eli redeems him. And it is very painful. And it burns the darkness from Dylan's soul.
Dylan awakes in the Halls of Creation, curled around his new Heart. He feels like he's been turned inside out, but his Heart loves him. The parties, the madness, everything is still happening. So Dylan peers through Daimon's Heart (Daimon is arguing fe rvently with some tall guy with good hair) and Star's (she's climbing into a car.) And then Dylan descends to them.