I suppose just no one believes me. Maybe they’re afraid to believe me or maybe they just think it too unlikely. Sure after all we’ve seen and all I’ve been right about, why would these mysterious documents on nightmares by Dr. Illhousen likely sent to us c/o Karsten and Count Sawicki be important?
I’m not angry, but I’m a little shocked. I barely had a chance to read them before we were plunging in the plains and then the home of the Blood Cat. The amount of blood that was shed, all those dead bodies, the magic scorching the air, and the eerie images in the very room we’re sleeping in? There’s no way this is going to go well. You’d have to be ignorant to this entire world to believe we aren’t at some nexus of fucked up evils.
Kraj is already asleep. I wonder if he’ll wake up to attack someone before I even go to bed. We chained him up to one of the gates after exploring these rear areas. Zanfyre said the dwarf came back here often. They were excavating or at least he was. Chesna and the rest of her crew were holding out here. I believe Zanfyre now that he fessed up to working for them; I just don’t exactly believe he’ll still be here in the morning.
We know Grast is a horse, a powerful one with enchanted shoes. We know the scepter Lord Hiergaard was sending turns into a serpent and just might kill whoever gets it. Luckily Belrau is good with snakes. Like, really really good. We know Kuzma’s men we saved are watching the entrance. I sure damn hope they’re appreciative of what we did. They’d be dead without us.
Kuzma was very annoyed and concerned about us talking to Chesna. She knew something very dangerous. He did not like me confronting him about it either. He did his best to shut that down. Told me to just leave if I had a problem. The others don’t really seem to care. Ignorance? Maybe Kuzma is just doing a job he can’t really handle or talk about, but I hadn’t expected such a fierce change of personality. Maybe it was just the stress of his near death and amazement at what happened. Again, imagine if we weren’t there to save his men.
We’ve collected a few other magic items. I wear the blood cat’s leather now. Fits well and may do more for me than protect me. We have some coin and some artifacts. There’s the reward from Kuzma but more importantly a visit to Hiergaard. Finally there’s the giant spell book. I knew that would make Arden excited after nearly dying, what, three times? And that was just today.
He spent some time looking it over. Kuzma and I went over the most boring journal talking about fragments of pottery. Belrau and his snake ate that demonic hell-plains cat. Esera was taking a look around, maybe cleaning? I lost track. She’s serious and easy to read, but I can’t call her naive anymore. She knows what’s coming, I think, and that’s that we’ll be relying on her for mental fortitude. She was the only one who didn’t lose it though her natural inclination to avoid isn’t going to help.
Once Kuzma left I tried to spell out the basics. For example, I think Hypnos is the member of the Nightmare Court that is enspelling Kraj to attack people. He dresses well and wears a monacle, but stranger he’s often seen in a coffin of glass. There’s the Nightmare Man with his spidery robes who seems to run everything. Morpheus is red-skinned and his lower body is vaporous. Mullonga is the hunched, leathery hag. Ghost Dancer is the blood-stained ballerina. Finally, there’s the rainbow serpent, favoring betrayed prey.
They’re from the Nightmare Lands, which were once to the east of Nova Vassa. Arden remembered reading of them. How does an entire land disappear into the dream world? How does half of the things happen that we experience? Foul magic. Chesna had some. But an entire land? I’m concerned what we’re standing in has some connection to what they practiced. The rites don’t look like anything we’re interested in.
Apparently Illhousen had traveled there or at least his ally Dr. Rudolph Von Richten had. Now that’s a person, disappeared or dead, I’d like to hear more of. He had journals too and I’d like to read those. He had a theory that some great evil beings had powers limited by specific distance. While I think any wizard might protect his tower, I don’t think that’s quite what the idea was. In this, I think the suggestion is the nightmare lands were the extent of that distance and someone (maybe the entire court, maybe just the Nightmare Man) used their great evil power to pull it in the nightmare world.
That sounds maddening alone but like most everything we do, however, we’ll just have to stick to it. Keep trying, even when it seems hopeless. The nightmares can affect you, make you struggle, but you have to push through. Only then might you catch sight of a member of the nightmare court lingering on the fringe of your nightmare breathing in some “glowing, sickly green vapor,” whatever that is. Of course you can have normal nightmares but there’s really a difference that Dr. Illhousen made.
Demented people have actual mental illnesses that can be cured. Take for example the plethora of terrible moments we endured before Tepest. But then there are the disturbed, troubled and tormented by outside forces. So many people that Illhousen treated weren’t juist demented, but disturbed. That’s how he found out about the Nightmare Court, reviewing the stories of people and clarifying the similarities.
These creatures have terrible powers. They can’t outright control you past what you’d normally do, but the power of suggestion is mighty. They can make the sun shine green as they try to manipulate you, but it’s important to remember you have influence in these dreams. I can be a manipulator when I need to be after all. I’ll do all I can to exert my will against the court and the other creatures.
Some of the creatures may just be nightmares themselves or maybe people trap. Feyrs are inhuman and can merge into larger versions. They even come to the waking world sometimes. That’s a severe problem. I wonder if Lord Hiergaard is being troubled by some. There are nomads, the abber I think. They’re in between dreamscapes and they are so proud they may even ignore you. They may not believe you exist. They don’t believe anything they can’t see. Good thing Arden and I are good at appearances. I’m hoping they can help us when we need it, should we need it. I think we will.
I’m going to try and focus on the main notes Illhousen put down on beating the court:
1. Perseverance is key.
2. Never give up trying.
3. Keep searching.
4. Don’t stop fighting, but fight intelligently.
5. Never surrender to the nightmares.
I think one to mention is: Don’t forget you’re in a nightmare.
They say the wicked never rest. I don’t think we’re without our personal sings, except maybe Esera. But still, considering our efforts I think we attract more trouble than repel. No rest for the weary then.
I’ll just review all my notes a few times before I turn in. Better safe than sorry. That’s another saying.
Kraj is snoring again…