The dream voyage of James Biegle
Since entering the Shadow Marches, it had become clear to Roshi and James that this land suffered from a thin veil between this world and the sinister planes of Dolurrh, Mabar, and most of all Xoriat. Mad whispers and potent arcane / psionic echoes flit through the back of ones consciousness here, stirring the unpleasant places of the soul and generating a general sense of dread. For his part, Teranu found the spirits of the Shadow Marches to be oddly timid, behaving like dogs cringing before a cruel master. If not for the very lucrative dragonshard fields, it seems unlikely anyone would wish to dwell too long in this host forsaken swamp.
It is in this context that James experienced a powerful lucid dream voyage in a place best described as the Garden of the Gods. A thick forested path surrounded by fog lead James to a small clearing, where a beautiful red haired gnome child, named Abrea, played with dolls. In one direction a path lead to silvery golden dawn, which Abrea said would lead to Brisyra. However, she told James not to go there since a bad thing had happened there once long ago and that Abrea was scared of that place. She also surmised that it was Brisyra who had brought James to the Garden of the Gods in the first place (so named because ancient weathered statues of the whole Sovereign Host, drenched in clinging vines, were arrayed throughout the primordial garden). On the other side was another path, a wretched twist of dying branches and cloying darkness that Abrea said was home to Hamarik, who hated everyone.
In front of them was an old mill tower, and beyond that a shimmering river that refracted the light and shadow emanating from the two path’s to either side. Within was a massive stone mill wheel, unmoving and looking somewhat unmovable. Abrea than gifted James with two items, a glowing gold seed, and an acorn. The seed was for James, and the acorn for Roshi. James accepted both.
Back outside, Abrea, who insisted that the rules must be followed, told James to return down the path he’d entered and veer left, into a bramble patch. On an alter at the heart of the thorn patch was a naked Jinn, beautiful and arousing, and reaching towards James.
At which point James awoke to find himself strangling Roshi while a horrid black fog poured from his mouth and into Roshi’s gasping throat.
Roshi threw James off, wobbled a bit as his eyes shrank to pinpoints, then said “Tell him not to fear what he must do.” Then collapsed into a feverish coma like state.