Dreams in a Jar
22 Sul Eyre?
The Dream Machine had been stopped. All other defenses were defeated. All that was left between the party and freedom was one creature.
Coming up the stair, they found Anabaraxus in the sanctum. Larger than the room below it, it sang with dream potential. In the center, above an arcane circle focusing his powers, was Anabaraxus—a towering figure hanging limp in midair, the top of his massive skull missing, exposing the brain tissue beneath. Said tissue quivered as the party emerged from the stair.
You will not triumph. You cannot escape.
Humphrey shot forward, throwing his blade that easily hit the immobile giant. The minotaur followed, but was stymied by the floating giant. Xendrohs skirted the out edge of the battle, looking for an advantageous position.
Then the true power of Anabaraxus was known.
In a blink of an eye, raw pyshic power flowed from Anabaraxus’ cranium. Humphrey was fling against the wall like a rag-doll while the giant crushed Jak’s will, turning him against his fellows. Valna and Zinnia were hard-pressed just to defend themselves from the dominated minotaur. At the same time, Anabaraxus called forth from dream more fragments to protect him.
But the singing of the Dream Machine in Zinnia’s head gave the gnome an advantage. She knew how to manipulate the dreamstuff now, to turn its potential into solid form. “You can make a shield of dreams or even fly! You just have to will it enough, to dream it!” No sooner said, then Humphrey managed to take to the air a bit clumsily, but enough to cut another deep wound. Xenhros kept to the ground, his spell of shared pain harming Jak… but doing little to the floating giant.
While the dream fragments pressed the party, Anabaraxus showed he was the master of the dream. Shoving Humphrey aside again with but a thought, the giant formed spears of pure thought throughout the room, spearing the drow, Jak, Valna, and the gnome mage. But Zinnia’s mastery of the dream was growing, and she deftly unwove the dream, though not before it cut her and her fellows. Jak, free of his wounds and flying from Zinnia’s will, charged the giant, though not with enough force to bowl him over. Humphrey also charged the psychic master. He retaliated by shoving the two assailants away, and calling forth a psychic storm to stab and each of their minds.
So the battle went, with Anabaraxus creating terrible dream terrain, calling forth protecting fragments, and shoving away foes. As the heroes struck at the giant, they noticed the walls of the lab fading, and faint images of themselves sleeping beginning to appears. The giant himself was fading, becoming more and more just a brain in a jar.
But Zinnia was fading as well.
Humphrey and Jak tried to warn the mage, but all she saw as them fading as the battle continued… she remained solid.
Jak, Humphrey, and Valna all came close to falling, barely holding on. Soon, Anabaraxus was but a faded ghost, as was the gnome wizard. When things looked most dire for him, pressed by the drow, Anabaraxus called forth the syllables of destruction, destroying the lab… and everything in it.
And all was a wailing white light…
Groggily, Jak, Valna, Humphrey, and Xenhros opened their eyes. They were in the main room of The Ship’s Cat, others of the expedition looking anxiously at them. As they slowly gathered their wits, they noticed something amiss. All their beds surrounded a table with a broken jar and now dessicated brain.
And Zinnia had not awakened.
Zinnia was gone.
Someone on the Plane of Nightmares, in a corner far flung from any dream or nightmare touches, there is a small room. Little more than a closet, is contains nothing but a chair and four walls.
And a gnome.