Perchance to Dream
|Perchance to Dream|
Spirits of Man
Man from Leng
Mara undertakes a metaplanar quest, learning to meld herself with summoned spirits and attempting to repair bridges with Spirits of Man.
Ten years ago, Mara had an issue with the land she had bonded with. Pollutants from Sumitomo Chemicals had made their way into a small stream that went through her 'domain'. Her solution was to manipulate a city inspector that she was friends with to carry a bomb onto the offending property. The explosives went off as planned, however Dave was caught in the explosion. His constant companion, a Spirit of Man he called Mortimer, was not happy about this and marked her so that all of his kind would know her.
Skipping to present day, Mara has started working in the shadows and has recently purchased materials for a magical lodge. She's putting the various tomes and objects in place, with the help of a guidance spirit. As the evening winds down, she makes herself comfortable in a chair in the hidden room and eventually falls asleep.
She has a familiar dream - something of a utopia that she's bonded to and presumably in charge of, with a few others living there. The guidance spirit appears and as Mara approaches it whisks off, leading her toward a stream, then a drainage pipe. Beyond the drainage pipe are two figures. When she approaches them an explosion rips through the air and she takes cover behind a vehicle that appears through dream magic. Looking back toward them, she realizes that it was Dave and his spirit, Mortimer.
The spirit pulls himself back together and then rips open the fabric of dream reality revealing a stair case that he descends. Mara follows and meets the Dweller in a dark cave. The Dweller has taken the form of half exploded Dave. The question of how she feels about what she did hangs in the air. She regrets that Dave came to harm, but there is always collateral. The explosion lead to relief for her neighborhood. Then Dweller Dave grew an Elven ear and Mara instantly felt more guilt.
While this was happening a table appeared with supplies; a robe, skin with wine, skin with water, hard bread, dried meat and a knife. With the question posed, but not fully answered, Mara takes the supplies, as another stairway appears winding down.
Mara knows that she's here to face what she did to Dave and Mortimer. The only way to resolve things is to move forward. So she follows the path, taking the offered supplies, and descends the stairs to the metaplane of Man (or Spirits of Man).
Descending the stairs, her Guidance spirit is with her, as they move down, the spirit flows into her so the two occupy the same body. The stairs to a gate that represents that Gates of Slumber, which lead out of a tree and into a forest. The forest is varied in flora and fauna, not cohering to any representation of an existing forest on the physical plane. She finds a path and some evidence that someone preceded her on it, so she follows.
She has several encounters with spirits on the metaplane. Her strategy is to avoid antagonizing them as she knows she's not a great fighter on the astral. This doesn't save her from ruffling some feathers, though.
Leaving the main trail, she follows the signs and scent of smoke to find a small encampment. Small goblin-esque spirits with exaggerated features appear to live there. They have a small creature roasting on a spit and at first don't notice her. She spots another small spirit in the jaws of a small trap which they are currently ignoring. Seeing that they already have enough to feed themselves she moves to free the creature. When she's finally spotted, the Goblins irked as she lets their food go.
Mara calmly explains that they have enough already, and that when they need more they are perfectly capable of trapping another. In the end she's able to convince them that this is reasonable enough. She offers a half loaf of bread as a peace offering and notices that they are visibly apprehensive of her left hand. To them it looks necrotic (as in dying flesh not necro-magic). To her it looks red and irritated.
The Traveler Jürgen
After leaving the Goblins she rejoins the main path. The sun is setting and it's getting cold as she emerges from the woods and waves a goodby to the small creature she had freed. There are some abandoned domiciles and she approaches one. It's empty so she lets herself in and gets a small fire going to keep warm. After dozing off, she's startled awake by a knock on the door. After approaching the situation cautiously, she finds meets Jürgen, the Dwarf Explorer. Pleasantries are exchanged and they converse and share some wine and food.
Deciding that it's safe enough to share the shack for the night, the two doze off. In the morning, Jürgen explains that he's heading toward a city across the sea called Celephaïs. Mara is going the opposite direction, but the two part amicably and he offers a small upgrade to the knife she carries. He also describes to her a mountain that is decorated in astral shallows in the direction she is traveling.
The Man from Leng
Finding that Jürgen did indeed pass a spirit that matched Mortimer's description, Mara heads toward the mountain. She crosses a river and the terrain becomes more rocky as she approaches the ever distant mountain. The weather shifts a bit and she takes shelter under a tree, not wanting to get soaked by the rain. As she waits, she notices a figure seems to be following her. After being spotted out, it steps through a bush revealing itself. The spirit is rather creepy, wrapped in gauzy bandages and floating while nothing from the surroundings appear to touch it.
There doesn't seem to be an immediate threat, so the two talk for a while. The presence is ominous, though, and she learns from her Guardian spirit, still inside her, that his type are slavers. Or enslavers. He has apparently entered into spirit pacts with mortals before. He doesn't cop to enslaving other spirits, but there is certainly the air about him.
When the rain clears a bit, Mara tries to excuse herself from her new company. He's insistent though and actually leads her a ways up the mountain. They pass some shallows where she sees scenes of spirits being bound and other things from the physical world. She notes that there seem to be two ways by which spirits are bound, either through duplicity on the part of the binder or through a sense of fair trade on the binder's part.
Finally spotting what appears to be Mortimer, she again tries to excuse herself from the Man from Leng. Rather than take his leave, though, he tarries to observe as Mara approaches Morty.
Mara approaches Mortimer, letting him know that she's there. The two talk, and it's clear that he's still upset about what she did to Dave. She expresses that she didn't want that to happen, but at the same time, she wouldn't necessarily change anything about what she did. Finally, though, she does apologize for killing Dave.
Mortimer acknowledges the apology, though it doesn't appear to be good enough yet. While this is happening the Man from Leng is inching closer. Red spectral chains appearing in his hand as he gives Mara a conspiratorial look. Instead of helping the slaver, she tells Mortimer to go and he slips through a shallow overlooking Seattle from Mount Rainier.
This leaves her with an angry slaver spirit. Playing up the weapon on her belt she's able to convince him that they would both be better off if they go their separate ways.
Mara floats through the same shallow that Mortimer used and knowing the lay of the land is able to find her way back to her home and body. She re-enters her body and wakes to converse with Guidance briefly. The two seem even more connected now after the experience as Mara has now learned to channel spirits.
- 2 CDP
- 2 karma
- Astral Combat, Tracking, Animal Handling and Stealth all at rank 1.
- 5 Wild Reputation
- Ordeal discount on her Initiation
Player After Action Reports (AARs)
In the middle of a nights slumber I found my familiar dream torn open at the seams. Mortimer guided me to the metaplanes - I faced Dave on the boundary. To be more accurate I faced Dave's face, or what was left of it, as the Dweller took his form. I'm still processing what I learned there, but I'm fairly certain I visit the plane of Spirits of Man, as they are called.
- The Dweller on the Treshold - I haven't read an account of this being that gets to the truth of what it is. It seems it must be some part cosmic being and some part reflection of yourself along with who knows what else. Though, I suppose a cosmic being could know more about what's in your mind than anyone would be comfortable with without actually being you. Regardless, it prodded at Dave and how I feel about what I did to him. I can't necessarily say that I would have changed anything I did. The pollution needed to be stopped, I didn't have other means to stop it. In hindsight there are always other possibilities, but given the same choice and knowing nothing more, I would have done it again. It worked, in the end, and I'm sorry that he was collateral in that transaction, but sometimes metahuman life isn't the only factor. The single hardest question The Dweller had for me is if I would feel any differently if Dave had been Reth-sa. I would have felt more guilt about ending a souls Path before they were finished.
- Channeling - As I descended a spiral stair to the metaplane, I found that my Guidance Spirit was with me. And then she flowed in to me. For the remainder of the journey, our minds were as one. She lent me her strength and power.
- Goblin Creatures - They were Man Spirits, but their form resembled small fairy tail Goblins. Exaggerated facial features, small bodies, arms and legs that are thinner than they should be and pot bellies. They were roasting a creature on a spit and another was trapped. They were ignoring the suffering of the second, so I set it free and was able to appease them with reason that they could capture another if they needed and a small offering of food that I had been given at the start of my journey. I noticed they were disturbed by my left hand and examining it I found it to look red, as if it were metal made hot. It must be how they recognize me, the reason for their mistrust.
- Jürgen - When night fell, I found myself seeking shelter in a small cabin. Jürgen was a travelor, like me, though clearly a dwarf and he happened upon my cabin. After cautious introductions, we conversed passed our time amicably. It was not his first time visiting and he had a good sense of the lay of the land, if it can be called that. He was headed for a city across a sea and described a mountain in the direction that I was traveling. I found myself sad to part with him and sadder still that he was not fated to traverse the Paths.
- Man from Leng - I'm still not certain what this creature was exactly. He was rather spectral even on the metaplane, floating above the ground while the others walked and untouched by the or plants. I gathered that his kind are known to be slavers. I worked to avoid making an enemy of him or giving him too much information, but I found myself unable to rid myself of him with words. Violence was not tested. In the end, he led me up the mountain a ways until I spotted Mortimer. I made my excuses, but the Man from Leng refused to leave us be.
- Mortimer - The frequent spirit companion of Dave. I believe it was he who marked me. He had a hand in leading me to the Dweller and to the mountain and it seemed that my task was to face him. And so we spoke. What happened to Dave and how he was remembered were foremost on the Spirit's mind. He wasn't fully satisfied with my answers, I couldn't honestly say that I would have done anything differently. However, he was somewhat satisfied at my apology. It was genuine, I have always felt sorrow for what happened to Dave and it certainly wasn't my intention that it happen that way.