Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Dreams Betwixt Walls ep07 : A Red and Pleasant Land

Dreams Betwixt Walls
Episode Seven

"There Will Be Cake"

A Red and Pleasant Land

Days and nights quickly pass. Vera feels attuned to the passing of time. A green pig mumrat, lots of dwarfs, non-vampires, humans, animals they visit and come seeking permission, seeking roles.  Vidar ponders on the metals not being right.  The two argue about the need to find their way home, with Vera insistent that she would do whatever was necessary to send their daughter home.  She still believes all will be going according to her plans.

Ilya learns about life in this strange new world.  She learns of the hunt/market and understands the way things are managed here.  The kids form a cohesive unit in hunting.  They talk about early emergence from the well and about hiding and how to do it properly.  

Jacque arrives and this time, perhaps for the first time, the others begin to notice her resemblance to Ilya.  Jacque admits that the Heart Queen cannot die.  That the Red King supports them in their plans.  To prove his favor, a book of magic is offered, including the diamond dust needed to cast the Teleport spell.  Vera tasks Vidar to have a mirror made, with the help of five laborers.  Mava visits Ilya and tries to get the needed workers.  She visits Vera for the log book and the two talk about the usefulness of each member of the court.  Vera warns Mava of her role in things here, which leads to her walking out.  Vera then calls for the priest, and shares with him the information on the book and the dust.  He asks for the skull but she admits it is not with her.  It is with the girls.  "Trust them."  Becomes the theme of the conversation.  Vera even recommends to the priest to find dust so Mava can be the target of the Teleport spell as well.

Mava meets up with Ace.  Their discussion, originally to find workers, shifts when the father arrives and asks for the skull.  The father wants to resolve his promise and get it out of th eway.  Mava runs to Ilya, however, before the priest can get to her.  They find the kids hopscotching about.  He talks to them about the skull and during their discussion a ten-year old Hatta joins the conversation.  Night quickly comes as the group discuss the Head and soon learn that Hatta is actually present on behalf of the Pale King.

Father Geoff meets with the King Vidar while Lyle works on the metal.  Vera studies the spell and learns of the way the Mirror Universe works.  She learns she can bring someone back to the Quiet Side, the term for the place she was from, but only if someone else remains in front of the mirror the whole time while the spell is cast.  Reflections of each other.  If the person leaves, the other would be pulled back from the Quiet place.  Worse, she realizes she cannot be that anchor.  It has to be someone else.

Vidar demands for glass blowers and approves the use of silver in the mirror.  Vera and Geoff plan regarding the Head.  Both realize there is more important things to map out than originally discussed. Using a spell, she creates a facsimile of the Skull which is then handed back like the real thing.

The Tea Party begins.  By then, Vidar's mirror is complete.  Ilya is cuddling with the animals while Mava dresses fancy for the first time in her entire life.  Monochrome people arrive with black text emerging from their pale bodies.  Behold the King, the statements say.  The Pale King has arrived. The carriage, led by two horses, comes to a stop and a dwarf comes out.  Vera notes how the Pale King resembled Vidar, though no one else seems to see it.  Hatta introduces the Pale King to Vera and Vidar, and Vera makes sure to seat him by the Mirror.    When she sees Geoff, she inquires if he's prepared the dust.  Sadly, he does not have any.

A pond appears.  Out of the water on the ground, a colorless pawn emerges.  Geoff sets the body of the queen, still encased in glass, beside the Pale King.  Knights in black armor with colorless faces emerge from the water.  Nivia, the Colorless Queen arrives. Vera motions to Geoff to occupy the guests.  He begins to act as a host.  Vera worries about the matches she needs to use in the Mirror Universe spell.

She assigns the Fool (Mava) to delay the events by giving a show.  Clubs arrive.  Diamonds (Courtiers).  Hearts (Children).  The Heart Queen then arrives, Elizabeth Bathyscape herself, as does the Unicorn.  Ilya is able to approach it and offers it cake.  The two seem to be at home with each other's presence.  But when the Lion sees the Unicorn, things go crazier.  The Lion attacks!  Mava takes the moment of distraction to act too and tries to decapitate the Heart Queen, but despite her best efforts, the Heart Queen merely shrugs off the attack as if it barely hurt her!

The Colorless Queen turns into mist.  The Pale King transforms into Water.  The whole even exasperates Ilya, which shunts everything forward in the time table as the Mirror Universe spell is cast!  Mava stands close to the mirror, fighting against the Heart Queen.  Vidar feels an odd feeling on the mirror and drags Vera to it.  Vidar touches it and feels he can pass through. Vera, however, cannot.    Geoff tries to force the Heart Queen back, calling upon his faith, but it does not work. The Heart Queen transforms into a wolf and attempts to bite Mava.  Vera hurls the fake skull at the Heart Queen, hoping to distract her.  As the Heart Queen reaches for the skull, Vera casts Web upon her to trap her with the mass of other animals running about.  Geoff reminds Mava to "Be Strong" and his faith becomes a spell of Heroism upon her.  Ilya tries to touch the mirror even as the Qeen kills a few of the dwarf vampires.

Vidar topples out of a box, and finds a broken mirror in shards.  Only the mirror frame remains on the wall.  The walls, however familiar, do not match the rest of the walls of the chamber.  He looks around and discovers it is night and there are no servants.  Vidar, at the other side, sees Nicolai the Butler, who fires at him with a pistol.  Vidar closes the gap and with his axe, cleaves through the butler into two.

Vera insults the Heart Queen to lure her towards the mirror.  Ilya plunges the skull into the water and she finds skeletal fingers reaching for it to pull it in.  She realizes it was a bad idea and begins to tug back against the bones, in a tug of war for the Colorless Queen's head.  Geoff and Vera face the Heart Queen, who pins Vera against the Mirror .  Geoff calls for his faith and it emerges as light wounds upon Vera, which sadly, ends up healing her.   The Heart Queen bites Vera, and in response, Vera plants her hands on the Heart Queen's face and casts Continual Light on her eyes.  Geoff pulls Vera back and heals her with another healing prayer.

Ilya tells the Colorless Queen to "deal with the Heart Queen or things will become unpleasant for you."  Mava attempt to launch an attack but instead slips on the water.  The Colorless Queen casts a spell on Ila in response, "Avadakevadra!" 

Vidar storms the hallways, and notices there are portraits of Nikolai all over.  The servants hurry back upon seeing him.  Vidar roars, reminding them all that this is his castle.   He attacks the servants. Vidar starts yelling at the remaining servants to leave.

Ilya tries to pull the skull free.  Father Geoff calls for Sanctuary and casts it upon Vera. Vera tries to shove the Heart Queen through the mirror, but she resists with her own magic.  Vera realizes her magic is equal to the Heart Queen's so she tips the edge by trusting in the father's magic instead.  The divine sanctuary forces the Heart Queen to fall through the mirror.  But then, Vera begins to vanish, evaporating just as the Heart Queen does so! Ilya learns from Jacque of Vera's plans and sees her own mother disappear.

Vera finds herself trapped, held by something she cannot see.  She screams calling for help and somehow, Vidar can hear her muffled voice.  He begins to attack the wall and inside of it, he uncovers Vera chained to the wall.  Vera, now freed, tries to repair the broken mirror but it seems impossible.  She screams for her daughter.

The party goes worse when a grand monstrosity emerges, the Jabberwocky!   It charges after the others as it appears.  With everyone running away in a panic, Ilya exasperates once more and somehow charms the creature!  It tells her the two ways she can return to the Quiet place: Eaten by the Jabberwocky or by killing the Countess.  With the animals gone, Ilya finds herself becoming the mistress of the monster.  She has become the Queen.

A voice tells Vera she needs to go back.  Vidar sets the mirror pieces down and Vera tries to cast a spell to send Vidar through.  Vera wants to let the daughter find a way back.

Ilya chooses and she shatter the Jabberwocky's heart.  The Dream shatters as Vidar goes through the cracks and the dream comes to an end.  Mava sees the head matching her.  Father Geoff holds Mava and one by one they begin to awaken from the dream back in the Quiet Place.

Mava awakes at her old room at the Church.  The place is a warehouse now.

Ilya wakes up in her own room, which looks closed and never used.

Vera hears the voices fade.  Light fades around her.  She stares at the glass waiting for Vidar to return, but he does not.  She waits, though.  Waits and waits.  And Ilya never gets her to leave the side of the mirror again.

Father Geoff awakes in a room.  He finds a candelabra and lights it.  The room is not familiar.  He looks around the large chamber and finds a woman in a night gown in the room.  The woman reveals her fangs.  The welcome him back.

Vidar feels dragged by two knights in red.  Mirrors are all around.  He tries to break free but they pull him away to a throne room.  There, the gathered address him as an intruder.  On the throne, Vidar looks up and sees the old father Geoff, dressed in red.  The priest addresses him as being in the Red Keep and welcomes him to his new home.


And with that, our game ended.   Thank you BJ Recio for the nightmarish game filled with wonder and fear.  Thank you to Adrian, Gia, Fabs, Mia and Rocky for playing in the game with me. It is not often I get to be a player, and I will admit I had fun embracing my "Missy" role more than I thought.  The setting book is fantastic, and I do foresee taking my own stab at running this setting someday perhaps using a different system set.

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