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Here is the fictionalised version of the dream sequence my player had with Jadikira...useful for tone and characterisation.
Margueriteís Dreamby Geoff Gander
"I trust you have enjoyed what you have seen of my city so far," said Jadikira. "And there is more I would show you, if you desire it."
"Tamoraz is...unlike anything Iíve seen before," said Marguerite slowly. "But where *is* this place?"
Jadikira leaned back on her couch and cocked her head. "Tamoraz is a city-state, my realm, on the southern coast of Taymora."
Marguerite furrowed her brow. She had never been enthusiastic about geography (Master Verwoerd had been a terrible bore - there were worse fates than being stuck with him, but not many Ė and had it not been for Aden slipping her chocolates each class she would surely have succumbed), but she had studied it as thoroughly as any of her other courses. She was pretty darned sure Taymora was not on any of the maps she had seen Ė even that very colourful historical one that showed Darokinís "warring states" period. "Iíve...never heard of it," she said at last.
Jadikira drew back. "Never heard of..." she cut herself off and exhaled slowly. "Very well. Taymora is a broad land of rolling plains and hilly forests, south of a great mountain chain that separates us from the arid interior plains dominated by the Intuans, and the unruly hordes of Grondheim. To the south is the Dread Sea, upon which we voyage but seldom due to the machinations of the sea peoples. Does that...help you?"
Marguerite tried to place the lands Jadikira described on a mental image of the Known World she had seen in class. Nothing...except...the Dread Sea was probably the Sea of Dread, and if Taymora was between the sea and a mountain chain then that meant the mountains she was talking about would be the Altan Tepes, which were....far to the south. She seemed to recall there wasnít much land between the Altan Tepes and the sea Ė unless you counted the islands of Ierendi and Minrothad Ė so that meant... "I think Taymora is gone," said Marguerite slowly, "and has been for a long time. Iíve never heard of the other places you mentioned, either."
Jadikira blinked. "Gone?" She snapped her fingers and called out in a language Marguerite didnít understand. A dark-skinned girl with curly black hair wearing a plain white cotton dress padded silently into the room, bowed low before Jadikira, and asked a question in a soft voice. Jadikira held up two fingers and said a handful of words. Marguerite listened carefully, but was unable to determine what language her host could possibly be speaking. The girl bowed low once more, and backed out of the room. "I must apologise, Marguerite, for being such a poor host. Here I am, pressing you about what you know, and I havenít offered you some refreshment!"
The girl returned moments later bearing two cups on a gold tray. She set the tray down on a low ebony table between the two women, and artfully set down the cups in front of each. The girl bowed low before Jadikira, removed the tray, and backed out of the room. Marguerite looked at the cups on the table. Both were silver, and beaded with condensation, but the one in front of Jadikira had a lid on it. Marguerite fanned herself lightly. Come to think of it, it was quite humid here Ė it only got this warm in Corunglain on the worst of late summer days, but judging by how people dressed here Taymora must be warm most of the year. Her drink looked like some kind of orange syrup, with powdered cinnamon on top. "I think you will find your drink most refreshing," said Jadikira. "I find the cinnamon adds a bit of bite that makes for a nice contrast."
Marguerite took a sip, and her eyes widened. Aside from her fatherís honey cakes and the occasional sugar candy, she had never had anything so sweet and rich in her life. Whatever fruit it was made from was incredibly thick, and she could feel it settle into her stomach. The drink cooled her down instantly. "What is this?" she asked with a smile.
"I take it you have never tried mangoes before?" asked Jadikira. "They grow on some of the islands in the Dread Sea, and in certain places in Taymora where conditions are just right. I have a few plantations, myself. I canít say I have much of a taste for fruits, but I make an exception for these." She picked up her cup, lifted the lid, and took a sip.
"What are you drinking, and why is it covered?" asked Marguerite.
"Oh, this? Itís a concoction of sorts. I have a skin condition of sorts, as you might have guessed," said Jadikira, gesturing at herself. Her skin was indeed very pale, compared to the other people of Tamoraz Marguerite had seen. "I burn easily, and I am susceptible to other things. Fortunately, there are herbal and magical remedies available that make my life a little less uncomfortable. However, I need to take them regularly...or at least I did, if Taymora is no more as you say."
"Thatís what Iím curious about, actually," said Marguerite. "If Tamoraz and Taymora donít exist anymore, what am I doing here?" She took another sip of the mango drink. It really was quite delicious, and part of her hoped that, even if Taymora seemed to have been destroyed, mangoes still existed somewhere.
Jadikira smiled broadly. "That is, in fact, why you are here. I created several items of power - long ago, now, it seems Ė and used them to store portions of my essence, if you will. I know something terrible is going to happen to Taymora, and obviously it did, and I did not survive. So I suppose you can consider me a fragment of my real self Ė a bundle of memories and emotions and a small portion of my power embedded in my...your...ring. So perhaps I am in your imagination, and you are equally in mine. Although I canít remember all the details Ė perhaps those memories are stored in another item Ė I do know that I hoped to meet someone like myself someday."
Marguerite gaped. This was all too strange. Yet the strange glass sphere surrounding the ring had melted away harmlessly as soon as she had held it, and for some reason the ring felt *right* on her hand. Like it was meant for her. And this strange Jadikira seemed to know about the ring and her dagger. If this is a dream, then it canít do me any harm to play along, she thought. It might even be useful.
"I would like to propose something to you," said Jadikira, "I think we can help each other. From what you have told me the world has changed greatly since my time, and no doubt if Taymora is forgotten, then its works must surely be lost, too." She leaned forward to took another sip from her covered silver cup. "My people had already been studying the magical arts for nearly a thousand years in my own time. How would you like to learn the secrets of a lost nation, Marguerite? I can teach you things your instructors never dreamed of. I can give you spells no living wizard has uttered for centuries. I will do all this for you, Marguerite, if you help me. All I need," Jadikira paused to take another sip, "is for you to find two things for me Ė my staff, and my tiara. Thatís all. Will you do this for me?"
Marguerite paused. If this was just a dream then there was no harm in agreeing. But if it was real...if she really *was* talking to the dream image of a long-dead sorceress queen of a city-state that vanished ages ago, then the secrets she could learn would set her apart from everyone else. She had never thought of herself as greedy or ruthlessly ambitious, but at the same time magic opened doors to her that she had never imagined existed before, and riding the flows of magical energy was a thrill in itself. The prospect of having access to unique secrets was too enticing to ignore. "Yes," said Marguerite with a smile, "I would be happy to help you."