Negotiating with the giant ghost (literally) was clearly useless. He seemed to think of us as ‘slaves.’ What a silly civilization that must have been. Perhaps people our size were less intelligent back then. We ended up fighting him, predictably. Used 1 bomb.
Then things turned upsetting. Suddenly, I was overcome with a tremendous wave of fear. I’ve never felt anything like it. In that moment, it was all I could do to turn and run in the opposite direction. The ghost hit me on my way out, but I barely noticed in my panic.
You showed weakness. You must not do that. The white-haired assassin understands. Emotions are only strengths if they are facades.
The others came to find me soon afterwards. I’d scrambled up the steps in my haste to escape the giant. Cedric came up to tell me that they’d gotten rid of the ghost, although Jaela said that we should hurry because it would probably be back. I told Cedric that we needed to talk, thus beginning Plan Alpha.
We opened the door and proceeded down the steps. Gareth chucked a rock into the darkness to determine how long the passage was, but it told us little other than the fact that it did end. I requested a pause to prepare some things—translating those damn runes gives me a headache. Prepared: 1 shield extract. 1 comprehend languages extract. This proved to be a good choice, because there were more runes as soon as we entered the next room. They read: “The crown of worlds shall push back the nightmares.” Probably the diadem.
Anna had run ahead, as she is wont to do. Upon happening upon some giant suits of armor, she seemed to think that it would be a good idea to begin climbing them. The armor started to move as she touched it. I tried to assess what they were, but couldn’t manage to find out. Cedric said that there were zombies inside the armor. How fantastic. Not mechanical. Not a discovery. Not relevant. Must you persist in being ENTIRELY useless? One usefulness point to Cedric for healing. Electricity seemed highly effective against them.
Anna, meanwhile, had gotten herself surrounded by the things. Grand. One usefulness point to Deth for badassery. Used 1 bomb. One usefulness point to Pneu for badassery. We finally killed them all and proceeded down the hallway. When we came to the end, we found a locked door—or a door that would have been locked if there wasn’t a rock embedded in the lock. One entertainment point to Gareth.
In the room, we found a sleeping giant and a lot of loot. Anna thought it would be a good idea to SHOUT to wake the GIANT UP, but fortunately she proved quite a sound sleeper. The giant, that is, not Anna. The runes in this room read: “Our sleeping mother holds the key. May she fight forever in her dreams.”
There was nothing useful here either. You have wasted my time and broken my word.
So? It wasn’t a Deal or anything. You said you’d try. YOU said I’d try, you impertinent brat.
There were a bunch of huge gold coins, which we promptly grabbed as much of as we could carry. Gareth had the ingenious idea of taking one of the pillowcases and filling it with coins. One usefulness point to Gareth. Obtained: 8 gold coins, GIANT. :D
Since the room had exhausted its usefulness, we were at a loss for where to find the supposed information that was supposed to be here. The giant wasn’t waking up. Unfortunately, it seemed that we’d have to go into the dream world to find her there and ask her ourselves. Deth would be able to guide us there, but since the entire Quori race is now gunning for him, that was…problematic.
Deth agreed to take the risk.
Sentimental fool. One entertainment point to Pneu for snarkiness. She also prepared us a nice sleeping tea. And with that, we went into the dream world. Jaela stayed behind in order to watch over us.
It was a singularly fascinating experience. I would like to be able to do this myself. Deth said that they couldn’t teach mortals to do this, but I can’t be sure if he means CAN’T or WON’T. The tentacle Quori would know. But we can’t exactly ask him, can we? (You could, but you are afraid. Afraid that he has the upper hand. Who is the paper tiger now?) That was uncharacteristically unkind.
We went through a door and found a banquet hall, with the sleeping giant seated at it. She was not sleeping here. This dream felt odd somehow, less vivid than the others I’ve been involved in. It felt very old, in a way that I couldn’t explain. Worn out. Tired.
The giant seemed a bit dazed, surprised to see us. She said that no one has been in this dream for quite some time. Centuries, unless I miss my guess. Korash Nagos was her name. We explained the situation to her, which she understood, having faced a similar one before. Deth said that the “shift is supposed to happen,” and made a comment about how the Quori get when that happens. The last shift would be the fight the giants were involved in. So what does the dream become when this ‘shift’ occurs. Fahrezz indicated that the Quori would all be destroyed, but it is possible that they all continue on in one form or another. Further research needed.
In her day, Korash sealed the giants away by trapping herself in the dream world.
You could go. You could go and never be found again. You could stay here forever, where reality is malleable. That would get boring. So is this. At least this changes. And there are people to play with. She said that destroying the diadem was possible if we had all the pieces, and that there was one additional stone that ties it to this world. She called it the Worldstone. Such creativity. It was on her head the last time she saw it, but as it is not there anymore, her guess was as good as ours as to its current whereabouts.
Throughout this exchange, Sally had been prowling around the room, taking advantage of her existence in the dream world, no doubt. She attacked the walls, but they soon reverted to their initial state. She then decided to attack Cedric for science, to see if his wounds would heal as well. Korash didn’t much like that; she proceeded to smack the shit out of Sally. It was pretty funny. Although Sally can be amusing at times, I can’t say I like her overly much. She is too much of a wild card. I’ve known people like her, who enjoy causing pain above all else. They cannot be trusted to form logical conclusions. It struck me that now would be an excellent time to eliminate her, when she was already wounded.
Cedric had the same thought, clearly, but no sooner had he raised his sword than Korash stopped him. She said that she wouldn’t have fighting in her dream. It seemed a bit late for that to me, but we weren’t in much of a position to protest. Korash showed us a command word to turn the dream energies on themselves. It poses the same risk of being trapped in the dream world. This dream is part of the One Dream, apparently, but no one seems willing or able to explain what that means. She also gave us a key phrase. The alignment of the gems is important: the earth gem must be in the center.
GANATARI’RAN SHOWED UP. FUCK.
She was as creepy as ever, had eyes swirling all around her. She said that Deth’s usefulness had run out, time to eliminate him.
Familiar with that pattern. I tried to get out of the dream- you can’t fight her, you know -but no luck. Bad. Bad, bad, bad.
One of the eyes shot at Deth, and Anna jumped in front of it, deciding to be a big damn hero. As soon as the eye hit her, she collapsed. And the dream ended.
She was dead when we got back.
This upset everyone else considerably, save Pneu, who seemed more intent on the mechanics of a decent burial, or what is a decent burial in her culture. It was very nice, except she wouldn’t let me put the coin in Anna’s mouth. I used a paper one instead, like if she were a pauper. Somehow, I don’t think that Anna will have much trouble talking her way into the Underworld anyway. She doesn’t need the silver.
I set one on the ashes after she’d burned anyway. Sally tried to play, but no one was in the mood. It was not the right time for my talk with Cedric. Damage control will have to wait. Deth kissed me on the cheek, surprising me greatly until he said it was from Fahrezz. Had he contacted him? He also said that I had “some things to tell him” later. Fantastic. More damage control.
We held a funeral for Anna.
She made her choice. It’s no business of yours. She was hardly more than a child. (She was a hero.) She was a fool. Can’t she be all of them? We have to head back to Anna’s home to pay her relatives the blood debt. I wonder if she has a lot of them. I wonder if they’ll miss her. Cedric seems to think that families are units where everyone cares about each other because they are related by blood. I have no one related by blood. What does that mean? Enough. These thoughts are pointless.
I’m holding onto Anna’s journal until we reach her relatives. It has some interesting schematics that I’d like to look through. I feel a bit melancholy, since everyone else is feeling melancholy. I’m sure it will pass soon. (I mourn when I lose one of my crew.)
But Taesaria isn’t you. She handles things with less emotion. She will mend.
I don’t understand. Why would she do that? It was a very foolish thing to do; she can’t have anticipated surviving it. Perhaps she just wanted to strike a blow at Ganatari’Ran. Perhaps.
But it still doesn’t make much sense.
Day 40: A nap and a death, but it wasn’t me. Still moving forward.
Money obtained: None. Sort of.
Loot obtained: 8 giant gold coins.
Ranking of companions:
Anna: Usefulness- 3 points(posthumous).
Pneu: Usefulness- 1 point. Entertainment value- 1 point.
Gareth: Entertainment value- 1 point.
Deth: Usefulness- 1 point.
Cedric: Usefulness- 1 point.
Ranking totals to date:
Anna: Usefulness- 23 points. Entertainment value- 17 points. (Final tally.)
Pneu: Usefulness- 25 points. Entertainment value- 30 points.
Gareth: Usefulness- 27 points. Entertainment value- 15 points.
Jaela: Usefulness- 9 points. Entertainment value- 7 points.
Deth: Usefulness- 19 points. Entertainment value- 18 points.
Cedric: Usefulness- 22 points. Entertainment value- 9 points.