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Marguerite’s Dream Sequence

by Geoff Gander

About every month or so (game time) Marguerite finds herself transported back to a dream version of ancient Taymora. This is Tamoraz as Jadikira remembers it, of course, and since she was queen of the city for a few centuries, she knows it quite well. If Marguerite tries to leave the city, she will find herself coming back into it. Jadikira will try to become Marguerite's most helpful, silent friend. At first she will eagerly share her knowledge (in reality, things that mean nothing to her) to help Marguerite out - possibly including teaching her ancient Taymoran (she has a few empty language slots). The information she does decide to provide will be useful, but before long she will begin holding out, and try to get Marguerite to find her lost treasures.

[The character - Marguerite - puts on the serpent ring she "found" in her solo adventure. She keeps it on.]

After about an hour or so Marguerite is probably used to the ring (whether she thinks about it much, or admires it, is up to you). A few people notice it, while a smarmy classmate derides it as cheap jewellery because it isn’t encrusted with diamonds. There matters rest, until one night…

Marguerite wakes up after a particularly vivid dream about being in a boat on the ocean. She’s only ever seen drawings of the ocean, but everyone has always described it as being mind-bogglingly vast. Huge waves, like green mountains of water, smashed against the side of the boat, rocking it like a carriage on a bumpy road. She tumbled out of bed…

…and onto the deck of a ship! The crispness of Fall in the air was gone, replaced by warm winds that carried floral scents she had never smelled before but which made her dizzy. The waters were still and azure blue, and the sun blazed white hot overhead – higher than it ever appeared in the sky at home.

Where was she, and how did she get here?

Looking around the ship Marguerite could see sailors running about the deck, securing lines and managing the sails. Most of them were dark, stocky, powerfully-built men who moved with a cat-like grace. They spoke to each other, but although their lips moved Marguerite heard nothing. Birds circled overhead, but whatever noises they made were also muted. One man rang a silent bell, gesturing to the fore. The ship was entering a wide bay around which nestled a brightly-coloured town, whose winding streets climbed up from the great white stone piers into the hills and stopped only at the foot of a great, jagged escarpment that encircled everything. “Tamoraz,” says a woman’s voice at Marguerite’s shoulder. There is no one there.

The ship pulls into the harbour and the crew casts their lines. Once the ship is made fast and the gangplank is extended, Marguerite goes ashore.

The stone pier feels reassuringly solid underfoot, compared with the rocking of the boat. More people – dockworkers or some kind, Marguerite probably assumes – bustle around her, unloading sacks, barrels, and strange urns that she has never seen before [ED: amphorae]. Other ships are docked along the pier, and workers mill about them, too. Everyone seems to be heading towards the mainland proper.

Marguerite follows along, and after about five minutes (it’s a very long pier) she reaches the port itself. She walks up a ramp and finds herself in a large square, filled with people, that faces the sea. Squat stone buildings, covered with some kind of coloured clay or cement and decorated with all sorts of marine designs, frame the square. As with the ship all is silent here, but everyone around her is obviously having very animated discussions. No one seems to see her; although no one actually bumps into her, either.

She can actually get a better look at the people now, as well. Most people here seem to have bronzed complexions (definitely not like most people in Corunglain), with dark, wavy hair. Most of the men are bearded, while the women wear their hair in elaborate braids [ED. Here I attached a picture of a Minoan fresco]

Men wear light tunics dyed in bright colours, while the women wear sleeveless dresses belted at the waist, accessorised with necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. Those who wear anything on their feet, wear sandals. This is obviously a market of some kind, as intricate carpets bearing goods of almost every sort are scattered throughout. She sees jewellery, spices, livestock, perfumes, and dyes on offer – and there are more merchants on the other side of the market.

There are other folk here, too. On the other side of the market, close to a ramp leading to another pier, a small group of elves have a number of items on display. It’s hard to see what they are selling from here, but these elves are unlike any Marguerite has seen before. The cut of their clothes is very different from what Amalys [ED. the elf in the party] wears, and they are very, very pale. Not far from the elves is another knot of strangers – lizard men dressed in elaborate robes who are gesturing to a group of people in front of them. From the occasional glances the elves and lizard men direct towards each other, there is no love lost.

“It’s all so very strange, isn’t it?” asks the woman’s voice. “I could show you more. Much more. Would you like to see it?”

Marguerite tells the disembodied voice she does. She hears a polite chuckle. “Very good. Very good. Why don't you come see me, then. Just follow the street that leads straight up into the foothills. Eventually you will see a low, round hill surrounded by a stone wall. Go through the gate and you will see my villa. I will meet you there.”

Although there are several streets leading off from the market, only one heads directly towards the hills. This street is broader than the others, easily twenty feet across, and set among its paving stones at regular intervals are shoulder-high stone plinths, each bearing a man-sized statue of some kind. The ones closest to the market depict tradespeople, farm animals, and other things that are recogniseable to Marguerite. However, as she goes further from the market the statues begin to change – first to images of sea creatures like octopi, squid, sharks, and giant crabs, then to robed men and women in various poses and holding objects like scrolls, censors, bells, and torches.

By this time the buildings on either side have begun to change, too. Gone are the low stone houses and shops; now the road is bordered by extensive walled gardens whose perfumes make Marguerite's head spin, and reflective ponds. A handful of rafts and other pleasure craft skim the surface of the ponds, their occupants in animated, silent conversation. Up ahead, another broad street intersects the one Marguerite is following, and where they cross an ornamental gate, flanked by soldiers in burnished bronzed armour, dominates the scene. The warriors stand at attention, never moving a single muscle while townsfolk buzz around them like bees.

[marguerite can do whatever she wants here - [ED: player hasn't responded yet, but the general assumption is she's still going to meet this woman]]

Beyond the gate the gradual incline becomes steeper, and the scenery changes yet again. Walled enclosures flank the road now, and there is hardly any foot traffic. Those who do walk on the road wear prominent medallions or badges on their clothing.

[you can make an Intelligence roll to see if anything comes to mind - no response yet]

And then, on the right-hand side, a walled hill comes into view, just as the voice said it would. The hill is almost perfectly rounded, and topped with a pillared villa built of a white stone that seems to shimmer in the bright sun. A broad staircase leads from a gate to the front door.

[ED: Sent a picture of the Palace of Knossos, but noted it would be more modest]

Standing at the top of the stairs is a young woman in a purple dress, her dark, wavy hair drawn up in combs. Her pale features break into an engaging smile as she holds out her hand. “I am so delighted you came,” she says. “And I am so happy that you found my ring.”