Soul Reader (Book)
The Portal in the Forest
The Desolate Guardians
'I was told that everyone I'd served with in the military died shortly after I left.'
First located in the Orthogonal Reality by Cristina Thompson, the Soul Reader is a multi-dimensional device that is typically perceived as a book or diary. It would appear this perception is by design, as it ensures an operator requires no special training to operate the device, and also prevents damage to the operator due to the multi-dimensional properties of the device. The Soul Reader is capable of causing severe brain damage through improper use, such as attempting to interpret information that is too complex for a normal human mind to handle.
When interpreted by the Regret Demon a full depiction of the device caused instant near-lethal damage to Danny, which was only undone by threatening the Regret Demon with activation of the device. This depiction was then reinterpreted by Cristina Thompson while inebriated to create a crude sketch of a mechanical device which appears to consist of a large number of sharp serrated blades, cogs and pipes.
When activated, the device creates an interface between the user and a target soul, whether its physical form is alive or dead. Apparently considered to be a monstrous creation by an extinguished Sentient Flame which was interrogated by Cristina Thompson, the device apparently can cause significant pain to the soul being interrogated, and will force the soul to divulge information whether it wants to or not. Normal human souls do not appear to experience any discomfort when interrogated by the device.
Although its origin is unknown, the Soul Reader was first located by Cristina Thompson in the Orthogonal Reality. On departing the Orthogonal Reality to Danny's universe, Cristina then lost the memory of acquiring the device, later believing she had retrieved it from the universe of the Darkness Entity.
The Soul Reader also has the ability to remain attached to an individual, modifying their memories and actions to prevent them losing it. It can however be knowingly passed to another individual, to which it will remain attached until handed on.
Conn Thompson's plan to use it to extract the truth from Ward Shaw (The Sword) regarding The Crushing Fist however resulted in unusual behavior of both the device and The Sword himself, with the Soul Reader displaying jumbled text followed by 'CRITICAL FAILURE'. Further manipulation of the Soul Reader resulted in a powerful multispatial discharge from the device, along with emergence of the corruption within Ward Shaw (The Sword), typical of members of The Black-eyed Army. Deactivation of the Soul Reader caused the corrupted element to recede. This appears to have been caused by the presence of a Purple bio-stone within the spine of Ward Shaw (The Sword).
The Soul Reader appears to be designed to prevent its own loss, altering the perception and behavior of the user to avoid its loss through neglect, forgetfulness or deliberate disposal. It is capable of reconfiguring its structure to free the user's hands when required, typically re-positioning itself around the forearm of the user. Similar to the Orthogonal Reality, the exact mechanism of operation appears to be linked to conscious and subconscious command of the user. Currently the only known way for the device to be transferred from one user to another is for it to be given and willingly accepted by the other person, or for it to be consciously taken or stolen by another person.