All right, ladies and gents. Sit tight, ‘cause it’s gonna be a complicated retelling of the events following our encounter with the Tengu clowns we just beat up to a pulp.
I will try to give out as much insight as I can (understand) into our conundrum, because even though we’re stuck in the dream plane with no way out until we find the thingy of power Babagava threw in there (she will be the one bringing us out if I listened enough to make the proper inference. Helloooooo, backstabbing! It’s not like she’s an evil Dream Hag or anything like that. Can totalllly trust her!), we’re kinda stuck at the options we are now facing in order to retrieve the tokens necessary to meet the big boss man in charge and kill it (or recruit to become an Academy professor of Tarot cards if Rhea has any say in it I guess).
So we’re in a dream bubble and we’ve just saved some chef from a band of bullying Tengus and our dear Mother Goose Orfée proceeded to heal him. The other scribes find his appearance and demeanor… exaggerated somehow? They even make parallels to my short life as Samira, appearance-wise. No idea what they’re talking about.
So the chef, still agitated, repeatedly asks us for our help in what I could only understand as making him cook again.
The short of it is around those lines:
- His mistress, Sonoré, was killed by something like nine conspirators and each one of them took a piece of a kepenia (some type of scarf) and separated the current dream-bubble plane into nine different realms, each one of them becoming its masters.
- Bernadee-tee, or whatever that name is spelled, is the conspirator/master of our current location.
- The chef cannot be calmed down and wants to wander around, looking for other adventurers to help him cook again. For who, I have no idea, and apparently so does he. He seems kind of stuck in a loop in that regard, which I find really strange… and seem to be the only one thinking it. Since I have a tendency of listening to half of the scribes’ tedious conversations anyway and missing out on some irrelevant information that the scribes usually label as “important” or “vital” or “Samir doesn’t need to know or he’ll do X”, I decided to shut up, as their tolerance of my antics seems to chafe them more than usual lately. They want to appear important and freely forewarn enemies of their might so that they can better prepare to kill us for some reason. They all must have noble blood either inflating their egos or clouding their brains I say. Bah! I can’t wait to go the entrepreneur way and be free of the lot of them, even though I’ll miss them, quirks and all. Hmmm, maybe I’ll make a room for each one of them in my domain someday for when they’ll visit.
- The big bad guy is a dragon, and we’ll need to get all the tokens in order to meet him. Or is he the last one to hold a token? I don’t remember. (shrug)
So we’re off to enter this little marquee over there. We cannot see what’s inside, but I can hear distant fare/circus music coming from inside somewhere. Orfée, afraid that the Chef will wander around until he gets attacked again, decides to remain in place to take care of him for the time being. Fortunately, she loans her precious wand of healing booboos to Nasah.
Oh, Rhea and Nasah split a deck of tarot cards the Dream Hag gave them and in which they plan on throwing cards at things or people randomly for some reason…
Well, what do you know, the interior is a lot bigger than its outside representation. I’m shocked. SHOCKED I tell you, that such a thing is even POSSIBLE in a dream plane!
We seem to have made our entrance directly inside the stage where a show is being performed. At the opposite end of our location is a round cage too dark to see what’s inside. On each side of the cage are bleachers filled with an audience, sometimes cheering, oftentimes jeering at the show presently being performed. The performers are a stone giant, juggling a bunch of different items while four big bears are riding awkwardly around on unicycles, to the delight of the crowd.
As our presence is detected, the crowd starts to jeer at us, throwing insults. The performers, hungry for the crowd’s approval, turn toward us with violence in their eyes. The fight is on!
The fight was a weird one. Bears kept falling down their unicycles and awkwardly trying to get back on, to the roars of laughter from the crowd. But these little fuckers kept zigzagging between us, striking us with their paws. And they were FAST!
My performance in this fight was subpar. I first made the illusion of a wall of smoke, cutting off the view of our party from the giant and two other bears, but nothing came out of it. They just ignored its possible dangers and ran straight through them. It’s possible that the illusion had no effect whatsoever on these creatures, because even the crowd, blinded to the show going on further than this wall of smoke, kept cheering/booing at the event going out outside their field of view. Weird, that.
We soon found out that their will to fight was directly related to the crowd’s attitude toward them: the more they cheered them or laughed at their antics, the more violent their intents were; inversely, the more they laughed of cheered at OUR actions the more apathetical they’d become.
Hasdrubal was in his element. His sword maneuvers, once out of Rhea’s black tentacles (who grabbed poor Mavrikos solidly in its grip) was the stuff of legend (I really should sneak into one of her master’s little soirée one day…). He killed a bear if I recall, and his sword moves made the crowd go wild in our favor. A bear became so depressed by Hasdy’s showmanship that he picked up his broken unicycle and left the tent, head bowed in shame, in a “Screw you guys! I’m going home” kind of way. “Hasdrubal Thesh. So good with the sword, he once made a bear cry” shall be what’s written on his headstone, should he ever die one day and I have any say in the matter.
After the fight is over, we go toward this dark cage and see some type of a crocodile humanoid, sitting down among a bunch of chairs and tea-pots. The crocodile is sipping tea and seems to be waiting for us. He’s even wearing a top hat and everything! I have no idea why, but I’m secretly disappointed that there is no Hare with him and that they’re aren’t celebrating someone’s un-birthday for some reason…
So our head arcana nerd, Rhea, takes charge of the negotiation. We soon ascertain that Bernadee-tee is one of the conspirators and in possession of one of the tokens we’re supposed to look for.
Rhea ended up playing a game of “spot the lie”, with five chances, to win the token without the use of violence. If we were able to spot a lie from the crocodile-man AND be able to prove it, we’d win the token! As I was trying to get Rhea’s attention to the crocodile’s hands (his left hand was in his right arm and vice-versa! Looked like we were dealing with the image of a mirror or something. Really weird. I kept wondering when we’d see a rabbit, scrambling about, late to see a queen for some reason).
Rhea won the contest of wits by asking Bernadee-tee her name, which it replied with “Samira”.
Well, that was easy! And here I was, wracking my brain, trying to find a question we could ask that would make it impossible for the creature NOT to lie… zero for two so far for good ol’ Samir…
On our way to another realm (forgot which one. They all have weird names like the “machine candelabra” or “the vast void of terror” or silly things like that. Ok I wasn’t listening when the names were discussed), we encountered an annoying Rabbit King, pissed off about the lawn, thinking it was out to “get him” and prevent him from escaping or whatever. Turns out he was one of the conspirators, too, and Nasah tried to win his token with a game of paper-rock-scissors. He lost. But Rhea tried her luck and won. Boy was that one easy. The rabbit was an idiot, and decided to play a game (multiple times!) instead of exchanging the token for a lost piece of his blade that he lost (probably still in Sonoré’s corpse… you know, from all that backstabbing these fuckers did. That notion is surprisingly out of my scribes’ minds for some reason. I’ll NEVER understand them I tell you. When Samir acts inappropriately towards bad people their eyes roll behind their heads in exasperation, but those same holier-than-thou hypocrites politely discuss deals with murderers or enlist human-eating monsters to the Academy, where CHILDREN live! It’s. The… BAH! I really think I’m starting to resent them…).
Ok, so we’re at the door of the Tic-Toc Man’s realm. At the base of some stairs. We see Fire-Dwarves, armed with hammers. As they see us, they start taunting our group. Rhea (or was it Nasah?) tries the diplomatic/friendly way as a retort, to disastrous consequences. The politeness of their words only serves to anger the four dwarves further, who then start hammering at the columns flanking the stairs our group is on. Each blows threatens to make the whole place fall on our heads. Hasdy and I, quickly cast a fly spell and start going up in order to evade anything coming out. Fortunately, the scribes figure out what’s what and throw insults of their own. The dwarves LOVE it, and let us pass through.
We decide to enter an inn that we soon find out is ran by a grumpy giant that is refusing to serve us, since we aren’t giants ourselves. As the scribes negotiate, I spot a big key, lying on the counter and try to palm it with my ranged legerdemain ability. This key surely is the one that opens the back door of the establishment (which the giant tells leads where the Tic-Toc Man resides). No luck. The giant spots the key, floating above his head (no scribes tries to get the giant’s attention away from us, so I’d be able to finish the “borrowing” of… with my limited successes with this trick, I’m starting to think I should’ve went either the Veiled Illusionist or the Shadowcaster way… oh well), grabs it and tells us that either we pay one thousand golds per head to frequent his business or we should leave, and quick. As we slunk outside the place, I propose that I combine my hat of disguise’s ability with climbing on the shoulders of one of the fighters in the group, so that we’d appear giants (I’d just have to craft an illusion of a very long robe after all), which seems to AGAIN make the scribes queasy at the idea of looking ridiculous. Such a weakness… tsk.
I soon grow tired of their debates (irritated, really) and just tell them to throw a void pellet at the wall, thus bypassing the damn door of the inn and we wouldn’t have to hurt our precious images to deal with an angry giant. Hasdrubal provides his pellet and I throw it at the wall, creating a HUGE, gaping hole in the wall… where we see a Fire Giant standing, confused at the wall. I quickly cast the illusion of the wall back, confusing the poor sod even further. Before planning the next step, our “leader” Rhea steps through the illusion and introduces herself, probably wanting to make it another one of her pets.
That giant turned out to be even angrier than the innkeeper! He’s ranting against the Tic-Toc Man and how he transformed his buddy into stone (we can see a HUGE stone face in the corridor. Guess that’s him), that he is a “size-ist” (whatever that is) and so forth. He’s also on a hunger strike for some reason…
I soon grew bored of the conversation and stopped listening, but we ended up with a new companion following us into the Tic-Tic Man’s lair. Off we go I guess.
Wow, I’ve never seen so many machines in the same place in my life! There’s EVERYTHING! It’s really the machinest machine room to ever exist!
Hey… what of that thing Kohl Meanie wanted from me again? A Delithium Matrix thingy, right? What if… THERE! There’s one! That Ranged Legerdemain better work this time. Let’s see.
[META: that wasn’t addressed in the game, so no idea if it worked or not]
Ok, so we’ve negotiated the Tic-Toc Man’s token in exchange for 6 “grubs” (some type of material needed to maintain his machines here) that another conspirator possess. We can’t kill that guy, because the whole realm would destroy itself or something? Or at least, that’s what the Tic-Toc Man says. How convenient!
So after dealing with the annoying rabbit king on our way to the other conspirator’s place (forgot the name again), we arrive at a building where there’s lots of wax statues of bearded mental masturbators that were alive hundreds of years ago. While searching the two adjoining rooms I was able to find a secret door, then another within that secret door. Anyway, we end up in a big room with a giant ant, some dwarf lady and three big globs of wax. Before even introducing ourselves, the ant shrieks that we are here to kidnap her babies, which are worms, writhing on the table nearby (three total) that are apparently the “grubs” we are after.
Boy do these globs of was fast AND hurt! Before we could even draw our weapons we were attacked and our fighters were badly wounded! Not a good sign…
Rhea and Nasah were able to calm her down with soothing words, which stopped the attack. Before getting kicked out, we were able to strike a deal: her token for the Tic-Toc Man’s head.
We’re kinda getting swamped with deals here!
Aannnd that’s where Rhea decided to have a moral crisis about dealing with assassinations and darks dealings with murderers. She began sweating and hyperventilating out of nowhere. She had to take Mavrikos aside to have a discussion about the faith of Phos, which she took up when dealing with the Hag as a price for something I’m not entirely sure I understand at all yet.
Since we don’t seem to have enough problems yet, the group decided to go to yet another place to get a token. We are soon faced with a bizarre show: a unicorn, a pear on its horn, is having an argument with a goblin wearing a unicorn mask, desperately trying to eat the pear on the horn. The unicorn refuses to give it to it, stating his hatred of lowly, dirty goblins.
Nasah tries to calm both parties down and offers solutions to both parties, but neither will bulge. The unicorn refuses to give the pear to filthy goblins; the goblin refuses to eat the other pears, because they are dirty and all have “fear not” written on them.
The lack of action from the scribes is really annoying me lately, so I decide to take charge, from the shadows, so to speak. I palm a “dirty pear” and use my ranged legerdemain ability to snatch off the good pear from the unicorn’s horn. Success! I then quickly cast a figment on the dirty pear, making it appear “clean”. When I tell the unicorn that I have the pear and make both see this fact for themselves, I quickly give the “dirty” pear to the goblin, who happily run away under a tree and starts munching on it. The unicorn is really pissed off at me for that though and calls me “an asshole” (never thought I’d get “called an asshole by a unicorn” off my bucket list though). I urgently whisper to him and ask him to calm down, that I have the real thing here and I give it back to it. Win-Win, right?
Nope, that fucking unicorn proceeds to scream at the goblin and telling him of the ruse, thus resuming in taunting him.
All for naught.
The creatures inhabiting this realm are so weird, almost like they are empty beings, forced to live a pre-written script of someone’s making… (shrug).
Well, the uni-douche relents and gives me 5 “dirty” pears for my trouble, so I hand one out to each of our group (might come in handy).
All right. We arrive at another of those realms. Yay… more things we’ll owe murderers for tokens they STOLE from a CORPSE they KILLED! And I’m the rogue without a conscience in the group. (spits)
We come upon a book written in a foreign language none of us is able to decipher. On closer examination, I see that the quill’s point is made of obsidian! This might be the token we’re looking for! So of course, I ask my new buddy (screw those scribes! I’m making my own friends! With blackjack and hookers!) to grab it. (Forgot to tell you! Casted my first Mud Buddy spell today! He’s AWESOME! Helps quite a lot! The other scribes makes light of my choices of spells, but they can’t hide their relief when my buddy enters rooms first, thus triggering any traps there would be in there. Suckers…)
As soon as the quill is picked up there is a telepathic voice inside our head. It’s another conspirator!
And guess what!? No no, guess!!! You’ll never find it I swear!
Give up!? Well, the ghostly hag wants…. A deal in exchange for her token! Mind. BLOWN! Right? Right!?
Of course the scribes want a deal. We should save murderers for the good of a higher power, who’s probably watching us through fingers, both hands on its face in stunned exasperation…
So the deal? We will need her eyes, tongue and heart back (other conspirators have them) OR the same items, but from a mortal (not a dream puppet of whatever form of “sentience” “live” here).
Tried to exploit the spell “sculpt corpse” to sculpt pieces of myself (my ring of undead makes me immune to pain when activated) into those parts, but we came to a consensus that the “sculptures” would not be working as proper organs. Oh well, because trying to exchange the token then running away before the fraud was found out would be a terrible idea and would probably go against the group’s fucked up moral compass, right?
I hate feeling this irate towards those damn scribes lately…
So we have to steal the babies of a murderer (grubs) for a token, kill a murderer for a token (remember, WHICH IS BAD!!!!), find a piece of broken sword for a token we already have (if I recall properly), steal the organs of a murderer from other murderers, OR steal them from an innocent sentient being (dead preferably I guess – the scribes’ ethics is confusing to me).
I can’t wait to see what else we’ll need to do to get out of this nightmare realm. Yay!
… (sigh) I miss Orfée’s level-headed thinking right now…