The Abyss Stares Back

Dreams, Part I

The plane turns out to not be featureless at all, but it is forbidding and nightmarish. The world seems to have gone entirely gray, but the dark ground seems almost to be moving, and quiet whispers emerge out of the void. As we walk, fissures in the ground start to appear around us, growing larger until we reach a larger solid platform with scenes visible from it – a forest, a ruined city, a black building and clock tower, and an abandoned outpost.

Milosh wants to deal with Johanna’s dream first (and Mads would like to burn any books we find), so we head towards the clock tower and enter the door there. We end up in a library in impeccable order, but with no one in it. Mads and Milosh attempt to cause damage to the place, but it almost instantly heals itself.

At the far side of the room are a door and an easel with a chalkboard on it. The board looks blank to all of us except for Mads, who can see a math puzzle in it. He solves it in record time and opens the door, although Milosh takes the credit since he happened to be standing nearby with a crowbar.

The room beyond is another library chamber, with infinite rows of books stretching into the distance. On the one wall are three paintings of authoritarian figures – a judge, a priest and a professor. They seem like perfectly nice people until they step out of the wall and accuse Mads of being illicit, immoral and illiterate. They’re not necessarily wrong, but they seem to want to destroy us over it, which is not OK. Fight!

Of course, we are victorious, capitalizing on the vulnerability of the paintings themselves to weaken the figures, even though we ourselves are affected by the deep fear if this place. We pass out and reappear on the island, but Mads has managed to find a pocket watch that will allow us to reverse a small amount of time. We decide that our next stop will be the forest, again mostly because Milosh doesn’t think that it will be his nightmare.

We find ourselves at the end of a bridge spanning a deep ravine, with the sound of running water rising up to us from its unseen bottom. Again, fear washes over us and Mads and I are affected by it. In the middle of the bridge lies a huddled figure who turns out to be another Johanna, with tears running down her face and her wrists slit. The Johanna that we are with pushes her away and spits on her disdainfully. This is apparently the time just after she was fired from the university and before she was pulled into Ravenloft.

Mads verbally torments her for a little while, rubbing her weakness in her face, and then we continue across the bridge. However, we find that we can’t leave and that we gain wounds like Johanna’s in the process, so we turn around. Mads says some vaguely nice things, and I edit the note I left for her to make it clear that I would see her again some day (spending an icon point to edit her memory appropriately. The Johanna on the bridge recovers from her sadness and reveals herself to be the real Johanna! But the fake Johanna turns into a pair of demons and a bunch of little flaming guys!

We defeat the demons and return to the hub, and now we are all best friends with Johanna. Next up is my nightmare, which we assume is located in the ruined city.

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