Back to Hell
An Enticing Trap

We’re back… back in Hell. Even the walls exude a sulfurous visage, trying to hide the dark inner demons. It all just spirals in, and there is no real escape. Any hope of an escape is just a dream, and this is the land of Dreams. But not all dreams are sweet.

The entrance to our Purgatory remains unchanged. Although this place looks more like the half-assed pamphlets try to make it sound than reality. I hope we don’t run into the normal demons. I don’t think Johnson would be exactly happy to see us.

Everything swirls together, the details are wrong but the scaffolding is familiar. The others don’t see it, they can’t know, but they will learn. It will eat them up as it does all others and we will be lucky to leave with any part of ourselves truly intact. We’re trapped, and they call themselves lucky that we’re out of the rain. The teeth of the trap are closing, and soon we won’t be able to run.

The big guy wandered about for a bit, then offered to carry us to the dining hall. Food isn’t what we’ll find, even if it looks like it. Everything in this place is poison. Isaiah and AJ want to try to find some food anyways, so we’ll see how long it is until they start to freak out. This place is insidious, gets in your head…

Two minutes. At least they don’t think we’re crazy anymore. At least, I don’t think so. AJ seems to be starting to understand the dank underbelly that lurks beneath the shining veneer of the prison. They’ll all understand soon enough, once the shades of the monsters start coming out. Dominic and Isaiah leave to try the front door, but I know they will be back soon. There’s no way out, it just spirals in over and over again. This is no good, they don’t understand yet. Jonus is absolutely ragged, I’ll have to watch over him while he rests so nothing tries to steal his thoughts. It sounds like the group is still going at it though. They’ll learn they’ve already failed though. They must, they have. I just need to stay awake, for all our sakes…. don’t fall asleep…

Finishing the Maze
One Is Silver, And The Other Gold

So the silver path that we were following started to fade out. Malcolm started getting frantic about it, and so we kept following what was left of the path and ended up in this room with creepy dolls in it. We smashed their faces and their eyes and stuff, and I covered up some of their eyes, and so we got into the next room. The silver path was gone, but there were little moon symbols, and we followed those. It led to a dead end, though, so I decided we should follow a gold path we’d seen instead.

We found out that it was based on the day/night cycle, and we went into this dark room where we had to turn on the light. There was a paper on OCD in there, and The Old Man and I started sorting the books because they were out of order. That got us through into the next room.

The next room that we ended up in was a dress closet with a bunch of yellow dresses in all different patterns. Since we were doing so much organizing, I decided to organize them alphabetically by pattern. I sort of felt like dancing, so I put on one of the dresses and danced, and the door opened. (It was the vertical striped one. I like that it makes me look taller.)

Then there was a courtyard with some stone benches, and a three-scale thing that was supposed to be “the products of achieving your dreams.” It was pretty obviously blood, sweat, and tears, and I told the group that, so the Klingon got to working out and The Old Man just sort of stared at a bowl trying to cry. I whispered encouragement to Malcolm and then I poked myself with the quill thing that the other Errant Knight had, and it burned really bad but it filled up the blood bowl, so I tried not to complain.

The Old Man couldn’t cry, though, at least not that much, so I helped out with that one as well. The Klingon got sweat for us, and then we found a house on the path. Malcolm didn’t like the house—he went sort of banana balls, and threw himself into the wall thing as we exited the maze, so I tried to help him out and calm him down with some magic stuff. He stopped panicking, but he was sort of resigned and thought we were going to die.

I hope we’re not going to die. I miss my mom.

Into the "Dreaming"

When faced with the murky water, Isaiah seemed to simply accept it as another obstacle to overcome. Impressive. He carried me across the water first because the other two seemed to have temporarily lost their nerve. After I made it across, though, the other two followed. Along the way, the creature under the water attacked, but it was beaten back. I am very grateful to be travelling with people more physically able than myself – particularly in my current condition.

After crossing the river, we arrived at yet another fork. The silver path went only north, so we followed it into a strange old-fashioned room with a now-familiar blocked archway leading onward. It was like a hospital might have been long ago. After some unhelpful monkeying around with the gurney, I decided to assume that the room was supposed to be used for its intended purpose. In retrospect, that may not have been the best idea, but the fact that I was in substantial pain may have contributed to the decision. In any event, I lay down on the gurney and Jonus injected me with the IV.

I woke up in the well that I had climbed into… so long ago? No, that was just today, wasn’t it? But it felt like years ago. I got out, dry as dust. The silver path lay ahead of me, leading between the two dark walls. What else could I do but follow it? I walked along it, guided by cards flying overhead which shielded me from the sun so I could see the silver. One night I was continuing my endless walk when there came a sudden blow to my side. I looked around and saw Skuld with a wicked grin on her face. “Just checking!” she said – and before I could respond she scampered off. I tried to call out to her not to leave the path, but my words were lost amid the iridescent trees. So I walked on.

Massive gates rose high ahead of me, covered in every gem and pearl. But the maze still led on – no matter which path I took, I always turned away from it in the end. Years? I spent circling the gates. Then I left the path, certain it had condemned me simply to torment. The earth recoiled against my audacity, and it threw me like a wriggling snake. My head smashed against the walls – and I broke through. No more were they an obstacle! Towards the gates – through the brush, through the walls, I crawled and wiggled and jumped. Nothing could stop me – no crashing earth, no bleeding wounds.

No gates could compare; they were higher than cards could soar, deeper than the cracks in the betraying earth. The land recoiled against me, foisting dark shadows at the edges of vision – but the gates were pure silver and white, allowing no blemish or thought of failure. I tried to push them apart, but before I could touch them, they bent before me. “Hail”, the voices shouted – and I turned to see Murphey, and the young boy and his mother, and so many others. Amid their voices came a melodious chorus. “Arcadia thanks you.” I turned once more to see endless ranks of the most beautiful creatures to ever leave the fey-blessed earth. The earth rejoiced and its chasms dissolved into green beauty. From all around they came – the homeless and wounded and lonely returning to their appointed city.

Then it was gone. An icy stabbing, a throbbing pain, and I was back. Back in the room – how long had I been gone? Had we still not made it out of the room? Of course not… None of these youngsters have the vision to see something through. I guess it’s up to the cripple to save the day.

I tried to solve the puzzle using the same twisted, nonsensical fae logic that had led us so far. But the room proved unwilling to compromise. None of us had any ideas… then the silver faded. Had it sensed my ambition? Was it too much? My thoughts were still slow and confused. How could the silver path fade? How little I actually knew of these surroundings.

Then the troll simply opened up the hedge. In the moment I was too confused – and worried – to worry too much about it. But… why didn’t he do that earlier?

A Maze Full of Issues
or Boys will be Boys

Even after we have moved past that first room through the danger and pain of the hedges there seems to be more confusion that awaits this ragtag band. This maze seems to live up to its name with plenty of twist and turns to cause anyone to regret their decision to enter. If it was simply a maze than our troubles would not be too bad but unfortunately we have three boys who seem to want to go on an adventure in a fairy tale land than actually realize where we are in this fae realm. I told AJ I would do my best to project him and find his mother but it would seem his new friends may cause us to end up incapacitated, or worse, before we have the chance.

The two do however seem to know there way around the maze and seem intent on following a silver path. We’ve had the pleasure of this path taking us through all manner of puzzles and traps that test our mind and body.

To begin there was a simple teeter-totter puzzle that held the group for a while and resulted in the boggin, Dominic, to become injured to a point of immobility. Even with the help of the AJ our new traveling companion ended up for the worst. Eventually, we were able to bypass the enormous child’s toy we continued on into the maze, following the silver path and the two young “knights” who seemed to know the way. As we contiued we found what could only be described as a study and found what the tricks of this maze actually holds for us.

The room was simple enough a fireplace with a few posh chairs and an end-table stacked with a few books. The books in question were old and seemed to share a theme that was beyond me. But one of the ‘knights’ seemed intent upon the burning the books saying it was the only way in order to open the door. While AJ and I were against such a seemingly foolish action the two other boys were adamant to the point of threatening AJ when he stole the match. They then proceeded to set the contents of the room on fire much to the pleasure of the more, volatile, of the two. The amount I am willing to trust these two lessen by the hour but luckily they still seem to be leading us… or at least letting us follow.

After nearly getting burned in our escape the group proceeded to but not before I learned not everyone is on board with the gallant leaders. After another room where we the simply lined some pencils for… some benefit I’m sure we came to another physical challenge.

The young AJ tried to travese what looked like shallow water but was grabbed by something under the surface. After escaped the grasping thing I decided to find out the way I know would work. With my strength. What I found was just a long tentacle that I was more than a match for on strength alone.

Now all I need to do is get past this and I’m on step closer to finding Trisha…

The Topiaries

So we were wandering through this hedge maze when we happened upon this big topiary room. It’s got spikes coming out of everywhere, and there’s almost no way for anyone to cross, at least not without getting cut up a whole bunch.

Anyone normal, anyway.

One of the knight kids popped outside for a second, said he had to do something, so I went back in and had no problem crossing the maze and avoiding spikes like a boss. I wasn’t really sure how to get anyone else across, though. The other knight boy was crawling across the bottom, and seemed to be doing okay. And I saw a gecko on the floor! Then the first kid who stepped out was on the other side. Said he’d been looking for a bathroom. I like him. He seems pretty neat. I considered going out further into the hedge, but we weren’t sure how everyone else was doing.

Turns out the old man (I might start calling him Tom now as an acronym for The Old Man) was stuck in the maze and had some pretty gruesome wounds. I helped him out and he seemed to be doing… okay… Bones came through after that, and Klingon made it through alright, too. We started to split up to take a couple of different paths out… I’m not sure how well that’s going to go.

It’ll be okay, though, as long as I’ve got Bones with me. We’re going to find my mom, no matter what it takes. And I hope we can find Klingon’s lady, too.

Into the Hedge

Jonus and I seem to have wandered a bit afield, leaving Eyebrows behind. No matter, I’m sure he can catch up. Our excitement is justified, I swear: there is a real-live hedgemaze. I love this place! I feel alive in here, in the Dreaming. More alive than I’ve felt since before they caged us.
This maze is everything we’d hoped it would be, although the path is laid out for us, which takes away some of the fun. Stay on the silver, she said, and I plan to heed that advice. I saw what happens when you don’t. It’s too bad about Quincey, he seemed like an alright guy.
We found some fruit, but I don’t trust it. It smells of disinfectants and cleaners, so I warn Jonus against it too. I can tell the poor guy is hungry, so I slip him some of my emergency rations, which cheers him up. We wander about for a bit, and manage to find the Boggan again so we all venture forth when this weird dog comes tearing up from a side path. He’s got a little fishbowl on his head, and he keeps yammering about finding us. I didn’t realize we were hiding… Sure enough, soon after comes his owners, a goat boy and big man Blue. Dominic starts talking to them about something, but we’re more excited to see more of the maze so we leave him to it. The kid, says his name’s AJ, comes with us with his dog Bones, and pretty soon I notice the rest of the entourage is also tagging along. I guess it works out, they look like they could use a couple of Knight Errants. Heck, once we get done with this, we’ll be full-fledged Hedge Knights!
Whoa… this must be one of the main chambers. It’s full of strange plant sculptures, and thorns everywhere. I’m not sure how we’re going to get across without slicing ourselves on those razors, and I never liked it when Maurice would paint the bathrooms… Hmmm… maybe I can pull something off…

Progress Interrupted

What strange people I have found myself with. I wish that I could find my way without them, but that does not seem practical. They seem to know more of the environment than I – and they take to it far more naturally. Have I become so banal…? I expected, or hoped for, clear directions, or at least some sort of path which I could follow. But there is nothing that I see to follow except for the execrably named Anthropomorphic Society of Spelunkers. Each of their members has a quirk to rival my friends back home (is it ironic to call a homeless shelter home?). Leatherwick in particular seems to have valuable information, but getting him to share it is an exercise in frustration. Perhaps I shouldn’t have needled him the way I did. But if I can get him to tell more stories – stories that are actually useful – I can should be able to learn more about this place. In the meantime, I have to figure out how to “walk it right” to find my way deeper. Preferably with these people in tow, since this seems like a more primitive world, and I am no master of combat…

Worst of Happenings

The worst has happened, Trisha is gone. I have worked so hard to make sure I could be there and protect her and it was all for naught. I should have never listened to Ricardo, I knew that the wine was dangerous and that my true form would set her off. Thanks that I was not there to protect her and now she is gone, and in her place a simple book. Ricardo started this whole mess but I knew that he would be the best person to go to and try and fix it. As soon as I show up and tell he start saying how is some sort of glamour connected to the book. All of it just went over my head, especially when it come to magic, but Ricardo kept a calm head which is impressive when I get mad.

He seemed to think that guests that he was going to have that night were going to be able to help me. Yet all that showed up were a joker of a pooka and a quite reserved little eshu. Neither of which seemed to be one Ricardo wanted for my problem. All I know is that I will not rest until Trisha is back, no matter if it kills me.

A little spelunking
Malcolm's trials and tribulations in the Dreaming, part 1

Into the frying pan after getting the fire to wander off, huh? Jonus is looking a bit better after his nap, but not by much. I’ll try to remember to give him some of those sweets Cara slid my way. And this guy, this… boggan? A quiet sort, I’ll have to keep an eye on him. Seems more of a whisking rogue than a wandering knight, but that’s the way of things. Need all types to get past appearances.
His supposed path down didn’t help at all. Something in the water of the cave is blotting it out, like an old painting in the rain. Well, guess we’re back a step… that means talking to The Anthropomorphic Society of Spelunkers. I know in my gut that we’re related, but I feel like they must be from the batty side of the family that no one likes. Heh… I crack me up sometimes.
Geeze, who gave the little one a pack of pixie sticks? He’s worse than old Gregor when they switched his meds. Flapping around, yelling about stories. I’ll have to see if we can placate him, get them in our good graces so they’ll spill the beans about this tunneling business. And… now the elder is rambling. Loves the sound of his voice, that one does. Ooh, Dominic is calling him on it. This oughta be good. Or… he could just try to sweet talk him. Whatever, we’ve got a lead: we’ll find a branch. The roads aren’t just straight one-ways, they’ve got intersections! Or… barring that, we may be able to make our own.
So that’s a plan, I guess. Now, we just need to satisfy this kid’s unholy story lust…

Once upon a time
There was a dream...

In the beginning, there was one. And soon after, many more. More than you could count or care to remember. But this is not the beginning of the story, and the story is not one.

It is several stories, tied together by circumstance and fate…if you beleive in such things. Heroes, or villains, or perhaps a combination of the two. Such has not yet been determined.

The first was a young man on the run, chasing the coat tails of dreams past dreamt, hoping to find something lost and locked away. Plagued with the shadows of past prisons, he hurried down the path with boon champion in tow, ready to valiantly (or so I’m told) brave the horrors of forgotten places.

The second was a man of many days, a vagabond and vagrant to some, and a mentor to others. Without home or haven he took to the path, to find a land of legends, lost to the fleeting and fickle minds of the fey. A quest long sought after, and perhaps a final hurrah, ready to lead the people, should he find what he seeks.

The third was young, and tired in many ways, with feet ready for the travel. If only she knew where to go. The recent days had been trying and tumultuous. Connections severed. Opportunities tearing at the seams. Could she find her place in the wide world, and regain connections lost beside the waves? The future was unknown.

The fourth was a man of noble breed, though of questionable company. A statue of sorts. A gargoyle on guard at the gates. But a clever thief of make and mind can sometimes find other ways of stealing what one holds dear, leaving only dark foreboding behind. Stricken with past promises, he begins his quest to the end.

The final man was of a monstrous make, though with a different sort of hunger than one might expect. Trapped within the banal bonds of modernity, the unconscious fey mind finds a means of a escape…chasing after other stories of other lives…past and present.

It is here where the story began its end, and the hands of adventurers with no idea what victories and horrors were to pass in the coming days…


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