Storyteller's note: The first and last act of the last chapter was told by me and the middle by a very good friend.
The way Argos works, the Dreaming is a distinct Realm, sovereign unto only itself; and the Dreaming is ruled by nightmares. Not long ago, the entire Realm was built by the first of the Younger Gods -- a god so powerful it became a trinity, Morfeus, Geminon and Shaitan. Morfeus is the Lord of Nightmares, the force that bound all of Nightmare together. Now the Prince of the Realm has gone missing, and things are stirring deep in sinister dreams.
The morning after M'narcel walked into the city of Assari and unleashed the Nightmare Demon, no one in the camp of Man had slept. Galan, having kept rigorous control his mind for so long without sleep, decided to take his rest.
M'narcel felt an urge to revisit the city in daylight, to see that things were safe now, but this was mainly shouted down by the Company until someone mentioned loot. Shortly thereafter, Banzel drove the Automotor towards the nearest gate with M'narcel and van Zaar aboard. By now, they had received a few frightened looks and warding mutters from the soldiers in the camp.
Once at the gates, the trio starts debating the degree of danger inside the city walls. eventually deciding that only one should enter - and the rest should wait outside until one knew what one was dealing with. The logical choice fell on the volunteer, M'narcel. By now, they had debated long enough for some five hundred Green Dragoons to arrive. They, being an elite Macharite regiment, and being brave lads and all, had been ordered to investigate the city before allowing anyone else inside. Of course they would not stop the fine Gentlemen Adventures from entering. Exactly what what followed is uncertain, but tempers flared, and the trio stood aside while the primitives blew the gate open.
First fifty dragoons ride in, and as they come out dispatches start riding. Van Zaar, offended and disgusted by the incompetence of the military regimen stalks off towards the camp. After having vented his frustration by making sure he was perceived as properly unpleasant (menacing stares and cold laughter) by passing troops, M'narcel decides that he is supposed to be inside the walls. So he walks through the gate.
Banzel, waiting in the Automotor in the fields get a distinct feeling that something is horribly wrong, and rush back to the camp. There, van Zaar, being a Dreamer, is able to identify what's happening: By letting N'Garthl loose in such a manner, a hole has been ripped in the tapestry. A Dream Sink has occurred -- an incredibly awesome phenomenon, a Force of Reality in itself. Good news, he can inform, it will end by itself, and soon. Bad news, M'narcel is inside, and getting out may not be possible.
In a concerted effort, the cabal reaches out to each other from one world to another, and thus, Galan, Banzel and van Zaar enter the Dreaming through astral imersion, their souls leaving their sleeping bodies, huddled together for strength, behind.
The Prince sit vigil over the dreamers.
Storyteller's note: Here I am playing Sheperd, one of the First Letters of the Dream Caste. Very little is known about the Dream Caste by those who dream, and nothing by those who don't. Their founding event was the dreamcast Franko da Cola made before transcending to Prince of Nightmares. Fifty letters were sent to Dreamers who answered the call.
Sheperd is a man of great faith, who sees the need for great sacrifice. The reason for his presence here seems to be two-fold, but he appears to be someone who belongs in the Dreaming.
Van Zaar is NPC'ed.
Once the cabal has entered the Dreaming, they come across a door in the empty dreams in the wake of the Dream Sink. Coming out of the door is a gentleman of indeterminable age, well dressed for walking. He introduces himself as Sheperd, and greets van Zaar by his given name, he then bids the cabal walk inside to the Corridor. From there he takes them to a peaceful location in a dream about reveal a nightmare.
Here Sheperd and M'narcel have a talk about the things M'narcel have done. The three summons of N'gartl is mentioned, especially the Scutino-incident. Sheperd argue the danger and irresponsibility of the acts, while M'narcel maintain that nothing he's done has been against the will of the Company. The two do not reach an agreement on the issue. Sheperd here passed on the warning of the Olympos to M'narcel.
Here the realities of being caught in the Dream Sink became clear. There was no way to get out, or so it would seem. Sheperd told the Company that he was going to the Castle of A Thousand Doors to find out what happened to Morfeus, and recruited the heroes in this endeavor. His path, he told them, was to locate the Castle, then enter through the Library. He also mentioned the possibility of finding a way out of the Dreaming from there.
And so they traveled through the nightmares, following one line of dreams after another, until they arrived at the shores of the Sea. The ancient nightmare of the unfathomable ocean proved to be difficult to cross without coming too close to the Deep -- these days you can get lost out there. M'narcel and Banzel had a brainstorming on the matter, and they came up with a plan for an airship to fly above the water. M'narcel then shaped the ship out of pure Spirit Essence.
Traveling in this manner, they found one of the Great Dreams, and through it they managed to get close to Grimfang Forest where they had to abandon the ship and continue on foot. At this point, Galan was starting to become worn down by the nightmare he had been trapped in. Apathy and a small seed of Desperation seemed to set in as he was dragged deeper and deeper. Inside the Primordial Forest, Banzel discovered a Ledetråd. A line, like a thread running through Creation, that could be followed.
The mysterious stranger, this dreamwalker, seemed content to let the heroes do most of the leg-work. While they traveled, he and M'narcel had a few conversations. The only way, Sheperd said, to get inside the castle itself is to enter when the doors between the Library and the Castle is opened to let the Nightmares flush the Library. Dangerous work, but he had to go there. The company could follow, or try to make their way out on their own.
Inside the Library, the company made sure to look for books of note. Only the Captain, knowing exactly which book he wanted, and knowing its name, managed to locate the Saragossa Manuscript. At this point, however, he was hard beset by Despair and wanting only to awake. He was convinced to go even deeper into the nightmare by van Zaar, and especially M'narcel. The latter now starting to glimpse the forces moving behind the scenes.
So, when night fell upon the Library and the doors were cast open, the Cabal walked with Sheperd through a maelstrom of raging claws and fangs and mouths, tearing, snapping and howling at them. Unscathed and inside, they come again to the Corridor. This time it takes them to the Throneroom. The very center of the Realm, now vast and empty, filled with nothing but sadness and silent echoes. Here, behind the Hybris, the throne of Morfeus, M'narcel sees a creature. Half featureless and half function, he is Möbel, the servant of Morfeus. His master is not in, he says.
Now Galan and Banzel make a feverish attempt to get out, but find themselves unable to leave this dream. M'narcel, however, speak of great things there, on top of one of the myriad of towers in the Castle.
Once he has spoken Möbel is again asked for the way out, and this time he answers truthfully. Sheperd bids the Company farewell, and reminds M'narcel that he is now part of the Chain, and that he now carries the Letter.
The heroes wake up.
Act 3 ~
Galan wake up and find himself spooned by Banzel and van Zaar. He feels terrible, and so does the rest. The three of them are obviously ill.
M'narcel at the same time, finds himself alone back in the city. Apart from a camp set up by some soldiers by one of the gates there is nothing inside the walls. Not even houses. He quickly appropriates a horse and rides hard up to the camp. Here he finds that a wide fence has been erected around their tent, and that solid-looking soldiers have been set to guard it, inside the fences. He is let through without any challenge.
The Cabal receives a letter from the Marshall stating that as they have been non-responsive for a while, he, the Marshall, have made sure they are as safe as possible. Now the heroes realize that three and a half days have passed since they entered the Dreaming.
They respond back, informing the Marshall that the Cabal will leave this theater. They plan to return to the Pius.