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 [CLOSED/INVITE] - Madness

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Konan (FV)



Posts : 16
Join date : 2015-02-14

PostSubject: [CLOSED/INVITE] - Madness   Sat Feb 21, 2015 12:27 pm

This thread is reserved for Nightmare RP pertaining to DM Jiraya's Nameless City events. Those invited are listed below. This is for research of the two remaining items not confiscated by Sunagakure as well as delving into the madness caused by the artifacts found within the ruins of the Nameless City.

Invite List:
Various NPCs (DM Jiraya or Authorized DMs helping him)
Urayama, Kinnojo (DM Jiraya)
Kichida, Kotoyo (xMcNinjax)
Kichida, Takeo (sir_gets_killed_alot)
Kichida, Suzumi (ShadowHeart)
Hasukan, Haru (AppleAndCinnamon)


Last edited by Konan (FV) on Sat Feb 21, 2015 2:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Konan (FV)



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PostSubject: Re: [CLOSED/INVITE] - Madness   Sat Feb 21, 2015 12:27 pm

"O Death" - Jen Titus:
 

DM Jiraya (Nightmare 1) wrote:
Aonu finds herself in a dark blackness. The void exists all around her, but it is more than just a simple darkness, almost like a haze. If she moves her hand in front of her face she looses sight of it. And then, she sees something. A stairwell. She finds herself drifting down these stairs as if drawn. She counts exactly 77 steps, finding herself in front of two men, both looking very odd, almost stoicly calm as they examine her. They allow her to pass into a door, again she feels so compelled to enter, before she counts seven hundred more steps down. She is no longer in the perfect darkness she was once in. Before her, there is an entire world, a dark heavy set cloud filling it, as her stomach churns. This felt all too real, as if it were no dream. She saw the giant face in the sky move towards her, rushing to swallow her whole, the face was impossible to understand, it had such alien angles and non-euclidian geometr, no features were right, and it swallows her as she awakes in her bed screaming and sweating bullets.
>>> Case 06NM4: The Nightmare
The things that have begun to happen to me are hard to explain, I’m not sure I can put them into words properly, or express them with accuracy, but I feel a strange need to clarify them within my own mind.  Kinnojo-san suggested keeping a journal of my dreams, and for once they’ve remained vivid in my mind even after I’d awakened from them.  I am no stranger to nightmares, nor of strange afflictions of the mind as I’ve suffered them for much of my life since childhood.  First there’d been my strange appearance in Hasu when I was eight, my apparent memory of anything prior to that day gone mysteriously as a new story of my birth and appearance had been woven by the village that I called my home.  It’d always been strange to me that I remembered all of their names, their relations to me, their favorite colors, how to behave around them…  Yet for some reason, I felt as if I were forgetting someone important.  It wasn’t until my brother left for training and never returned that my first nightmares began.

They felt like memories, while terrifying and painful, they were seldom and I soon learned not to pay much attention to them.  Save a few mutterings in my sleep, I never screamed from the unending terror and sadness I felt from them, I merely woke wondering where my family was.  In these dreams I was somewhere dark, a cage built for a child or a large dog, I could never tell.  Someone was always there with me in those times, the smell of antiseptic like in a hospital would be the most memorable part of my dreams and while familiar, it offered me no comfort.  The dream would seem to skip and dance forward, the torturous pain of surgeries performed without anesthesia, again and again and again.  Like a dream I couldn’t wake from, eventually my mind stopped screaming with my dream self and I could hear the faint wordless murmurs of my nightmare doctors, more like mutated demons than people.  Suddenly, the pain would stop and my world would go dark as I’d hear chaos erupt in that strange, dark hospital room.  A pure white burst of light and the brief sound of a scuffle then silence.  Something warm would envelop me, my weakness and pain temporarily gone as I awaken to a warm and worried face.  Mother?  A woman I don’t remember, yet somehow, in my dreams I recognize her as mother.  She turns away from me and the dream seems to skip forward, and fear grips my dream self as I find myself looking upon the scene as if I were a ghost.  A shadowed figure, I feel I recognize her, the small weathered form, slightly hunched with age, but I don’t get to ponder it for long as I find my mother’s back before me again.  She’s telling me something, run perhaps.  I remember myself clinging to her only a moment longer before I find myself running.  There are trees at first, then I find myself in stifling darkness and it is here that normally my dream ends.

But since the events in that nameless city, mentioned in that strange journal found upon the body of a dead man in Sunagakure, I instead linger in that darkness, finding myself as I am now, as something draws me deeper.  In the blackness of my dream, instead of suffocating in it, it’s as if I’m in a haze, a strange unnerving calm hitting me a moment as my pace slows to a walk.  The only thing I find ahead of myself is a dark stairwell, the one thing I can see with unnerving clarity as I descend.  Seventy-seven steps and I come across two wizen men, their visages old and stoic in their calm as they stand there before me.  I look only briefly at them before passing unhindered, the silence of that stairwell cloistering and I feel a slight tension as I can still feel the men looking me over.  In passing, my journey beyond them is longer as I travel toward the bottom, seven-hundred I count, something in counting the number of steps calming me as I draw out into a stranger setting, unfamiliar and yet still calling for me as I seem to obey it and allow it to draw me forward.  At the bottom of these steps, the darkness seems to dissipate, an entire world of space opening before me, dark heavy clouds in the sky as I step out into this strange world.  Staring up at those clouds, unease overtakes me, my stomach turning as if I stood before a horrifying murder, as if I were looking upon something that I should have never seen and I want to run, but can’t, the drawing force of this dream dragging me along with it as I fail to control myself and stare transfixed at the sky, the reality of the dream drawing me in.  The strangeness and unfamiliarity of it tells me it’s a dream, yet it feels so real as I stand there staring up at the sky even as the demon in my dream reappears, the face and figure that had warped the dreams I felt were so familiar to me until recently.  As it moves toward me, I don’t move, I barely seem to flinch, unable to quite comprehend it’s strange shape and nature, it’s composition wrong and disturbing as it descends upon me and darkness hits as I enter its mouth.

I have never woken screaming from a nightmare.  Gasping, crying, silently shaken...  All things I’m familiar with, but screaming from the terror of this unnatural dream, so strange, yet so real leaves me shaken.  Waking with a dream still so vivid in my mind is equally shaking as I remember the passages in the journals I’d read while in Sunagakure.  My heartrate is elevated and I can feel it in my throat as I realize I’d sweat through my clothes and tears ran down my face.  I have to begin studying the book I do have, I have to find out what happened to the author, if he survived this affliction and if there is a way to escape the fate that seems to have claimed his comrade, the dead man in Sunagakure, and the jounin who’d taken the artifacts from us.  If the jounin handling the objects had been found dead as well, I question the whereabouts of the artifacts they’d taken out of that ruin, that nameless city.  And I fear for whoever’s hands it had fallen into now, I only hope I can get the book before someone else does.
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Konan (FV)



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PostSubject: Re: [CLOSED/INVITE] - Madness   Sat Feb 21, 2015 10:13 pm

The Nightmare 2
Quiet Slumber:
 

Three days after her first dream, she finally falls to her subconscious again, her exhaustion overwhelming her, as nervously, her dreams drag her under again. She barely seems to remember the evening she'd spent alone with Kinnojo at the Twin Towers Hotel as her dreams lead her away from reality despite his efforts to keep her awake. She vaguely remembered staying up a while even after Kinnojo had long since fallen asleep beside her, his quiet breathing a strange calming sensation as she read again the one passage in the journal that seemed to make her so nervous about these dreams, the thing that had begun all this in the long moments of study it'd taken for her to read through the proper translations and undestand the strange symbols there before her. She'd been surprised to find someone else who used a code like her own village, to transfer messages, her own, Tivnae was unique to her clan alone. And in knowing that, she found it easy to absorb the code and meaning on the pages with the little time she'd had. But ultimately, even the book didn't keep her awake much longer as she fell to her dreams.

Hypnos wrote:
May the merciful gods, if indeed there be such, guard those hours when no power of the will, or drug that the cunning of man devises, can keep me from the chasm of sleep. Death is merciful, for there is no return therefrom, but with him who has come back out of the nethermost chambers of night, haggard and knowing, peace rests nevermore. Fool that I was to plunge with such unsanctioned phrensy into mysteries no man was meant to penetrate; fool or god that he was—my only friend, who led me and went before me, and who in the end passed into terrors which may yet be mine.

We met, I recall, in a mail station, where he was the centre of a crowd of the vulgarly curious. He was unconscious, having fallen in a kind of convulsion which imparted to his slight black-clad body a strange rigidity. I think he was then approaching forty years of age, for there were deep lines in the face, wan and hollow-cheeked, but oval and actually beautiful; and touches of grey in the thick, waving hair and small full beard which had once been of the deepest raven black. His brow was white as the marble of Pentelicus, and of a height and breadth almost godlike. I said to myself, with all the ardour of a sculptor, that this man was a faun’s statue out of antique Suna, dug from a temple’s ruins and brought somehow to life in our stifling age only to feel the chill and pressure of devastating years. And when he opened his immense, sunken, and wildly luminous black eyes I knew he would be thenceforth my only friend—the only friend of one who had never possessed a friend before—for I saw that such eyes must have looked fully upon the grandeur and the terror of realms beyond normal consciousness and reality; realms which I had cherished in fancy, but vainly sought. So as I drove the crowd away I told him he must come home with me and be my teacher and leader in unfathomed mysteries, and he assented without speaking a word. Afterward I found that his voice was music—the music of deep viols and of crystalline spheres. We talked often in the night, and in the day, when I chiselled busts of him and carved miniature heads in ivory to immortalise his different expressions.

Of our studies it is impossible to speak, since they held so slight a connexion with anything of the world as living men conceive it. They were of that vaster and more appalling universe of dim entity and consciousness which lies deeper than matter, time, and space, and whose existence we suspect only in certain forms of sleep—those rare dreams beyond dreams which come never to common men, and but once or twice in the lifetime of imaginative men. The cosmos of our waking knowledge, born from such an universe as a bubble is born from the pipe of a jester, touches it only as such a bubble may touch its sardonic source when sucked back by the jester’s whim. Men of learning suspect it little, and ignore it mostly. Wise men have interpreted dreams, and the gods have laughed. One man with blinded eyes has said that all time and space are relative, and men have laughed. But even that man with blinded eyes has done no more than suspect. I had wished and tried to do more than suspect, and my friend had tried and partly succeeded. Then we both tried together, and with exotic drugs courted terrible and forbidden dreams in the tower studio chamber of the old manor-house in hoary Yuga

Among the agonies of these after days is that chief of torments—inarticulateness. What I learned and saw in those hours of impious exploration can never be told—for want of symbols or suggestions in any language. I say this because from first to last our discoveries partook only of the nature of sensations; sensations correlated with no impression which the nervous system of normal humanity is capable of receiving. They were sensations, yet within them lay unbelievable elements of time and space—things which at bottom possess no distinct and definite existence. Human utterance can best convey the general character of our experiences by calling them plungings or soarings; for in every period of revelation some part of our minds broke boldly away from all that is real and present, rushing aërially along shocking, unlighted, and fear-haunted abysses, and occasionally tearing through certain well-marked and typical obstacles describable only as viscous, uncouth clouds or vapours. In these black and bodiless flights we were sometimes alone and sometimes together. When we were together, my friend was always far ahead; I could comprehend his presence despite the absence of form by a species of pictorial memory whereby his face appeared to me, golden from a strange light and frightful with its weird beauty, its anomalously youthful cheeks, its burning eyes, its Olympian brow, and its shadowing hair and growth of beard

Of the progress of time we kept no record, for time had become to us the merest illusion. I know only that there must have been something very singular involved, since we came at length to marvel why we did not grow old. Our discourse was unholy, and always hideously ambitious—no god or daemon could have aspired to discoveries and conquests like those which we planned in whispers. I shiver as I speak of them, and dare not be explicit; though I will say that my friend once wrote on paper a wish which he dared not utter with his tongue, and which made me burn the paper and look affrightedly out of the window at the spangled night sky. I will hint—only hint—that he had designs which involved the rulership of the visible universe and more; designs whereby the earth and the stars would move at his command, and the destinies of all living things be his. I affirm—I swear—that I had no share in these extreme aspirations. Anything my friend may have said or written to the contrary must be erroneous, for I am no man of strength to risk the unmentionable warfare in unmentionable spheres by which alone one might achieve success.

There was a night when winds from unknown spaces whirled us irresistibly into limitless vacua beyond all thought and entity. Perceptions of the most maddeningly untransmissible sort thronged upon us; perceptions of infinity which at the time convulsed us with joy, yet which are now partly lost to my memory and partly incapable of presentation to others. Viscous obstacles were clawed through in rapid succession, and at length I felt that we had been borne to realms of greater remoteness than any we had previously known. My friend was vastly in advance as we plunged into this awesome ocean of virgin aether, and I could see the sinister exultation on his floating, luminous, too youthful memory-face. Suddenly that face became dim and quickly disappeared, and in a brief space I found myself projected against an obstacle which I could not penetrate. It was like the others, yet incalculably denser; a sticky, clammy mass, if such terms can be applied to analogous qualities in a non-material sphere.

I had, I felt, been halted by a barrier which my friend and leader had successfully passed. Struggling anew, I came to the end of the drug-dream and opened my physical eyes to the tower studio in whose opposite corner reclined the pallid and still unconscious form of my fellow-dreamer, weirdly haggard and wildly beautiful as the moon shed gold-green light on his marble features. Then, after a short interval, the form in the corner stirred; and may pitying heaven keep from my sight and sound another thing like that which took place before me. I cannot tell you how he shrieked, or what vistas of unvisitable hells gleamed for a second in black eyes crazed with fright. I can only say that I fainted, and did not stir till he himself recovered and shook me in his phrensy for someone to keep away the horror and desolation.

That was the end of our voluntary searchings in the caverns of dream. Awed, shaken, and portentous, my friend who had been beyond the barrier warned me that we must never venture within those realms again. What he had seen, he dared not tell me; but he said from his wisdom that we must sleep as little as possible, even if drugs were necessary to keep us awake. That he was right, I soon learned from the unutterable fear which engulfed me whenever consciousness lapsed. After each short and inevitable sleep I seemed older, whilst my friend aged with a rapidity almost shocking. It is hideous to see wrinkles form and hair whiten almost before one’s eyes. Our mode of life was now totally altered. Heretofore a recluse so far as I know—his true name and origin never having passed his lips—my friend now became frantic in his fear of solitude. At night he would not be alone, nor would the company of a few persons calm him. His sole relief was obtained in revelry of the most general and boisterous sort; so that few assemblies of the young and the gay were unknown to us. Our appearance and age seemed to excite in most cases a ridicule which I keenly resented, but which my friend considered a lesser evil than solitude. Especially was he afraid to be out of doors alone when the stars were shining, and if forced to this condition he would often glance furtively at the sky as if hunted by some monstrous thing therein. He did not always glance at the same place in the sky—it seemed to be a different place at different times. On spring evenings it would be low in the northeast. In the summer it would be nearly overhead. In the autumn it would be in the northwest. In winter it would be in the east, but mostly if in the small hours of morning. Midwinter evenings seemed least dreadful to him. Only after two years did I connect this fear with anything in particular; but then I began to see that he must be looking at a special spot on the celestial vault whose position at different times corresponded to the direction of his glance—a spot roughly marked by the constellation Corona Borealis.

We now had a studio in Tea, never separating, but never discussing the days when we had sought to plumb the mysteries of the unreal world. We were aged and weak from our drugs, dissipations, and nervous overstrain, and the thinning hair and beard of my friend had become snow-white. Our freedom from long sleep was surprising, for seldom did we succumb more than an hour or two at a time to the shadow which had now grown so frightful a menace. Then came one January of fog and rain, when money ran low and drugs were hard to buy. My statues and ivory heads were all sold, and I had no means to purchase new materials, or energy to fashion them even had I possessed them. We suffered terribly, and on a certain night my friend sank into a deep-breathing sleep from which I could not awaken him. I can recall the scene now—the desolate, pitch-black garret studio under the eaves with the rain beating down; the ticking of the lone clock; the fancied ticking of our watches as they rested on the dressing-table; the creaking of some swaying shutter in a remote part of the house; certain distant city noises muffled by fog and space; and worst of all the deep, steady, sinister breathing of my friend on the couch—a rhythmical breathing which seemed to measure moments of supernal fear and agony for his spirit as it wandered in spheres forbidden, unimagined, and hideously remote.

The tension of my vigil became oppressive, and a wild train of trivial impressions and associations thronged through my almost unhinged mind. I heard a clock strike somewhere—not ours, for that was not a striking clock—and my morbid fancy found in this a new starting-point for idle wanderings. Clocks—time—space—infinity—and then my fancy reverted to the local as I reflected that even now, beyond the roof and the fog and the rain and the atmosphere, Corona Borealis was rising in the northeast. Corona Borealis, which my friend had appeared to dread, and whose scintillant semicircle of stars must even now be glowing unseen through the measureless abysses of aether. All at once my feverishly sensitive ears seemed to detect a new and wholly distinct component in the soft medley of drug-magnified sounds—a low and damnably insistent whine from very far away; droning, clamouring, mocking, calling, from the northeast.

But it was not that distant whine which robbed me of my faculties and set upon my soul such a seal of fright as may never in life be removed; not that which drew the shrieks and excited the convulsions which caused lodgers and police to break down the door. It was not what I heard, but what I saw; for in that dark, locked, shuttered, and curtained room there appeared from the black northeast corner a shaft of horrible red-gold light—a shaft which bore with it no glow to disperse the darkness, but which streamed only upon the recumbent head of the troubled sleeper, bringing out in hideous duplication the luminous and strangely youthful memory-face as I had known it in dreams of abysmal space and unshackled time, when my friend had pushed behind the barrier to those secret, innermost, and forbidden caverns of nightmare.

And as I looked, I beheld the head rise, the black, liquid, and deep-sunken eyes open in terror, and the thin, shadowed lips part as if for a scream too frightful to be uttered. There dwelt in that ghastly and flexible face, as it shone bodiless, luminous, and rejuvenated in the blackness, more of stark, teeming, brain-shattering fear than all the rest of heaven and earth has ever revealed to me. No word was spoken amidst the distant sound that grew nearer and nearer, but as I followed the memory-face’s mad stare along that cursed shaft of light to its source, the source whence also the whining came, I too saw for an instant what it saw, and fell with ringing ears in that fit of shrieking and epilepsy which brought the lodgers and the police. Never could I tell, try as I might, what it actually was that I saw; nor could the still face tell, for although it must have seen more than I did, it will never speak again. But always I shall guard against the mocking and insatiate Hypnos, lord of sleep, against the night sky, and against the mad ambitions of knowledge and philosophy.

Just what happened is unknown, for not only was my own mind unseated by the strange and hideous thing, but others were tainted with a forgetfulness which can mean nothing if not madness. They have said, I know not for what reason, that I never had a friend, but that art, philosophy, and insanity had filled all my tragic life. The lodgers and police on that night soothed me, and the doctor administered something to quiet me, nor did anyone see what a nightmare event had taken place. My stricken friend moved them to no pity, but what they found on the couch in the studio made them give me a praise which sickened me, and now a fame which I spurn in despair as I sit for hours, bald, grey-bearded, shrivelled, palsied, drug-crazed, and broken, adoring and praying to the object they found.

For they deny that I sold the last of my statuary, and point with ecstasy at the thing which the shining shaft of light left cold, petrified, and unvocal. It is all that remains of my friend; the friend who led me on to madness and wreckage; a godlike head of such marble as only old Hellas could yield, young with the youth that is outside time, and with beauteous bearded face, curved, smiling lips, Olympian brow, and dense locks waving and poppy-crowned. They say that that haunting memory-face is modelled from my own, as it was at twenty-five, but upon the marble base is carven a single name in the letters of Suna—’????S.(Hypnos)

Falling into the darkness, for what seems to be the briefest of moments, she finds herself in her usual nightmare again, it's memory-like state tainted by that other place, the minor comforts that she clung to in the forgotten memory wearing away as only the most horrible parts seem to bleed through, her captors were less human than she remembered them as the pain of the dream became more real to her under the aprehension she felt of the dream world, she didn't remember dreaming of her savior this time, and merely found herself running, the pain still lingering in her body as she fled through the darkness. Like before, this inbetween space was dark, but somehow clearer than before as her pace slowed, the closer she got to the stairwell, the less the pain from the previous dream seemed to bother her. Descending the stairs as it seemed to drag her down, the compelling force still drawing here, though this time the dream felt different as she actually paused to look back up into the dark expanse of her subconscious. Less foggy, less like a story dragging her deeper and deeper beyond her control as this time, when she came across the two men, a strange clarity in her mind allowed her to stop and truely look at them both. Seventy seven steps like before, and she came onto the landing where they stood, and this time, instead of allowing her past, they halted her.

"Woah there! You walked right by us last time. You need to be careful, we're here for a reason." One of them says, the words of the wizened old man seeming to give her pause. It surprised her that so suddenly they'd talk as the second continued the warning of the first.

"Most dreamers... Do not come down the Seventy Seven Steps of Light Sleep... Let alone go down the Seven Hundred Steps of Deep Sleep. It can be dangerous to go ahead if you don't know where you are going, or aren't ready." The other speaks, seeming just as old as the first as she seemed shocked for a moment that they'd actually spoken to her this time.

"What do you mean? You mean I won't wake up next time?" She pauses, looking over each of the old men carefully, suspcious that they'd choose this time to interrupt her yet not the first time when she'd been devoured so suddenly. "What is it that I saw down there last time?" She says, her eyes locked on the stairs leading down into the darkness below. "Why didn't you stop me last time?"

"To be honest we haven't seen a dreamer here in, well... I can't quite fathom the time properly." He rubs his long beard, as the other speaks.

"What you saw is... Dreamland. You stepped down the seven hundred steps to the deepest of sleeps. It is a world unto itself, a world of dreams, that exists without a dreamer. We meant to stop you, but you sort of went past us really quickly and ignored our words. Or... Perhaps you could not hear them. That is not uncommon." The two seem to look between one another for a moment, before they catch her gaze again. "It used to be that many came to this world, but now there are only the dark ones who visit this place. Fear not, you cannot die, in Dreamland. If you die here, you will awake, shaken perhaps, but not dead."

The other then chimes in "But if you die in Dreamland, you can never come back here... I should state."

"I thought I'd died last time though... Something swallowed me up..." She muses quietly then looks between them. "I haven't been here before that I can recall... Why are people drawn here? It only began when I found a journal telling of this nightmare place. I touched it and it's as if waking dreams reached my ears, and since then, my usual nightmares have become more vivid, tainted almost... Then they lead me here..."

"Most of the time, it used to be the great philosophers and those of open and curious minds would be drawn to this place. But over time, the musings about the realities and the more regimented thought has... Barred people from here. As for why it has opened... I do not know."

"The artifacts we found then..." She mutters, thinking for a moment as she looks between the two again. "How do I stop it? Several if not more have already died to the artifacts that brought me here... Is there a way to close this place again?" She looks between them both for a long while, curious as she looks over the two old men.

"Dreamland can never be closed." He laughs quietly "No, no dear girl, the issue is not with this place being... It's with it being how it is, with the way the people of Leng have been using it." He taps his head a moment. "They have been using this world with which all minds are connected... To target those they wish dead."

The two shake their heads "This is a world of dreams for dreamers, if you wish to stop this from happening, then you, as a dreamer, must be willing to do so."

"So... I could protect others from these people of Leng by defeating them or following those drawn in and defending them..." She says, drawing an iffy conclusion as to whether such would be possible as she thinks for a long while. "Is it possible to expulse other dreamers from this world? You say these people of Leng use it to target and kill... So while this world cannot kill you, the Leng can when we are here... I assume the rules of dreaming are... Limited to the strength of one's mind then perhaps?"

The two seem to look to her a moment "The men of Leng... Cannot be removed from this dream world. They are born, in this dream world. They are men of Dreamland who travel between this world and the waking world. The men of Leng are dangerous, feared by the people even in this world for their actions. And none have ever seen the Plateaus of Leng"

"So then how do I avoid death? How do I stop my dreams from dragging me here?" She asks, wrapping her arms around herself as she watches each of them, their postures, their expressions and body language. "I've not slept well in days, the previous men who came here left journals that seem to give off the same aura that this place gives off. It's what started my entrance into this Dreamland. Like something that places a link here, drawing me in. I don't understand the point of me being drawn here if it is as hopeless as you claim to stop the chain of death."

"Well, if you don't wish to be drawn here... Do not go down the stairs." The two say calmly, smiling to her as it seems they give her a very simple answer. "You merely need but walk away from the stairs and the dreams will come as normal... or you can come down these stairs and talk to us, but I will warn you. Many dreamers spend entire months in Dreamland in the span of a normal nights rest. You would be talking to us for a long time."

"And I'd age?" She murmurs, remembering the passages in the book. "... My chakra nature... Could I reject the time? Even if it only slows things down and doesn't negate them completely... It is constantly active within my body, protecting me... Is it still present in this world?" She stands there a moment, glancing away from them only for a moment before looking back again. "I don't understand how all this works. Someone dangerous has taken all but one of the artifacts we found that day, I can't let him just waltz down here as well and take advantage of what the Leng may or may not be able to do. Or even to find out how they do what they do."

The two laugh slowly, shaking their heads "No. You do not age at all in fact. Unless killed in violence, or sicnkess, those who are in dreamland do not age as you do in the waking world. They can live countless eons of time... and so can you, in this place. Time will pass, but you will not age, no."

"Then I don't understand... What was that book I'd read before being drawn here? It doesn't all add up. And you mentioned the Plateaus of Leng. What is that place? I assume they are places I'd best avoid if I continued beyond this point?" She crosses her arms, frowning slightly. "If you're saying that staying here talking to you at this level could be months within my mind, but mere hours of sleep in the real world, what are the dangers? If I can't die from the Dreamland, but can die to the Leng, are you saying that in my brief visits here thus far, they've not seen me yet? Not noticed my presence... Is that how the Leng choose their targets? Those who visit here become their enemies? You're not making any sense and the danger in the aura I feel from this place seems to contradict your words..."

"Dreamland is just that, it is a world beyond your concious mind created by dreams. They can influence this place, as can you. The Men of Leng are... a dangerous breed, but they do not control this world. They merely influence it as they see fit, as can you. There are many places and many worlds outside the experience of the normal mortal minds. Some try and delve too far, try to take control of too much, and they see things... they experience things, which no mortal mind should sense. But this world? This world is no more dangerous than the world from which you have come."

"So if I could manage a way to maintain my sanity and react to this world instead of directly understanding it, I could travel freely to and from this world as I wished..." She states, thinking for a moment of the nature of her junka and how similar it seemed to dreams, curious as to if she could manage to make her junka stronger by also mastering this world, she touched a hand to her shoulder thoughtfully. "... Control... If I can control myself and my own mind, keep the dream separate from my reality... I could keep myself sane yes? What dangers besides that of the untethering of my mortal mind and the Leng would I end up facing?"

"If you can control yourself in this world, you can control the very world around you. Your world you can control elements and jutsu. These things do not work here, the same way it works in other places. Here, why control such simple things, when you can rise mountains, part oceans, soar through the airs? With a strong enough and ablative enough mind, as a dreamer you can become something far, far more"

"Then my mind will become flexible. And I will keep myself alive in this place and leave without screaming in terror. I will gain myself a restful night's sleep and understand more of this place. If I'm being drawn here now from my normal dreams, then so be it. I will find out why I suddenly found access to this place, why it suddenly seems to call me deeper. And I will come out of it alive." She states stubbornly, frowning slightly. "Am I able to bring others with me if I were to attempt such?"

"No. If they cannot reach this place on their own, do not bring them. This place cannot be found by any except those who can handle the world they will be stepping into" The two slowly look her over a moment "It is possible for dreamers to meet in such a world, but it's not possible to meet here. Even missing by a few minutes can cause one to meet a few days late, I suppose you can say"

She nods slowly, understanding. "Then my travels here will be my own." She states, glancing toward the bottom of the stairs. "The longer I stand here, the less I see the point of my mission in retrieving the artifacts. I don't see any gain someone could achieve outside myself. What is down there that one might consider to be powerful? Something that one so foolish to think so would want to obtain to achieve goals in the real world?"

"The men of Leng exist both in this world, and within your own world. They walk here naturally, as they walk in your world naturally. To them, there are no differenced between these worlds. But like you, who cannot die here, they cannot die, in your world. When they are defeated they merely find themselves transient in one world or the other."

"... So they never truly die. Are they able to kill or seek out people here? Find out their their bodies are sleeping? Or trap a person's mind in this world?" She asks, frowning slightly as she crosses her arms thoughtfully.

"Unless they come to you in your own world, or you come to them in yours... your mind and body are safe. But there is more to this than you know. We do not see what is of your world, only what is of this world. Leng exists in both worlds... and in none of the worlds. They kill with the mind, but they kill without a trace. They move in this world, but they cannot travel elsewhere in yours while here. The worst they can do, is keep you from traveling here again"

She nods. "I see. So if I die here, I will not be able to find these stairs again, and that will be the end of it... Beyond that, I only need to avoid dying to the Leng in my world... Why do they kill?"

"We do not know. None know truly what happens with Leng, or their motives. But the last time they were this active... was when the dreamers stopped coming to this world"

She nods slowly, glancing back down the stairs again. "Perhaps they are guarding something?" She mutters, staring down into the depths silently. "Or perhaps knowledge of this place is something they'd rather not have shared..." She mutters quietly. "Which means any of us who may have found anything related to this will find themselves in trouble in the near future..."

"We will tell others, if others come. It is a dangerous time for both your world, and ours. The men of Leng are a piece of this world, but as I said, are but a part of it. There are powers here, and Gods which they fear, and which fear them."

"... What are the natures of these Gods? Could they be asked for aid and guidance? Perhaps I could convince them to help me in return for helping them."

"The last man to seek the Gods was Barzai the Wise. He has never been seen since. The will and the purpose of the Gods of Earths Gods, are not for the mortals to seek. Do not involve yourself in their affairs, for the gods of Earth and of Dreamland are weak... compared to the Other Gods.."

"... The Other Gods? There are three echelons of Gods? I assume my own gods have no power here then... And the opposite is true... They fear the Leng and the Leng fear them yet, they'll not allow the help of others nor help those in the same peril? Why? Higher beings though they may be, is not at least one of them compassionate?"

The two pause... almost unsure if they should even say it "The only one which speaks to mortals rules on the Pleateau of Leng. It is... Nyarlathotep. But his purpose, his motives, none know. He is the only God of the Other Gods which involves himself, and often it is best that one does not involve themselves with him."

They seem to almost pale even speaking about this being... It, He, whatever this thing happened to be, it made them uneasy "He does not rule in Leng. He protects the Gods of Earth, and the Gods of the Dreamworld, who are one in the same, from the humans and mortals who have sought to attain their heights of power, who have, in their exploration of the farthest depths and highest mountains, have driven the Gods of Earth away from the places they once called homes. The Gods cannot help any now"

"Then I will give the gods their home back and I will stop the people of Leng. Even if I have to do it on my own. I've decided. The Leng are like a taint..." She looks down the stairs again, a smile curling upon her lips as she stands there. "And if they wish to come after me for whatever reason, they find me waiting for them. They kill without a trace, I purge without one. I will remove them from both the worlds and I will gain the trust of the gods, and maintain my humanity. I do not seek power, I do not seek knowledge outside of that obtainable to me in the real world. But this... This, I will not allow to threaten those dear to me. And I will enjoy, for once, the chance to cut loose and allow my full nature to run wild without repercussion."

"In seeking to stop them, you must gain the knowledge of them" The other then speaks "To gain knowledge is to unhinge the mind to their madness." Then the other seems to again speak almost as if this is... rehearsed "How far does one go into madness to stop madness before they themselves fall to that insanity? They exist in both worlds... know that if you stop them here, there are threats of Leng in the world you walk when awake."

"My clan has dragged ourselves from insanity before. I need only drag myself from it again if I wish to survive this. I'm a stubborn one. I will not fall so easily." She looks between them both. "While I search the Leng out here, would my allies be able to face them and keep their sanity in the real world?"

"One cannot confront madness and darkness without that darkness slipping into them. None who face the men of Leng ever walk away the same, least of which of the mind. But to banish the darkness can cleanse the mind. For a time... the ones which have been will always be. It will never be gone forever, merely removed for a time. The Great Old Ones, the Old Gods, are eternal"

"Do anything you can, to avoid them waking in this world... or waking in your own. Otherwise there is little hope for either of these places"

"That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strane eons, even death may die" They seem to pause a moment before one of them seems to slowly put a hand to his forehead very... uncomfortable "I am sorry, we cannot speak of this any more, not now. We are not used to such questions"

"..." She stands there silently a while then looks down into the darkness below. "... I will... Travel further for a time then." She murmurs, sensing that the old men were done talking to her for now as she takes a step forward. "How about a bet before I go? If I can face one Leng and overcome the madness it may cause me, will you help me in my goal?"

" We merely guard the gates to this world from those who are unworthy. All we can do is try and give you what we know. We have no power, or influence in this world or the next. We have been here for an eternity, and for an eternity more we shall remain"

She nods. "That is all I ask. Is whatever you may offer. Consider it a brief game for the eternities you'll spend on these steps then." She states before preceding forward.

"We shall hear you out"

"Then we'll talk longer... The next time I pass through these steps." She states, proceeding cautiously forward.

"Do not let the passing of time here, obscure your mind of home. The change of living for months. Many can get lost in this... but there is something more important to tell you before you go. Many do not remember much of what has happened like is the case with many dreams. Many have spent years without remembering anything they have done here"

She nods slowly, and glances up at the two from her couple steps down. "I'm no stranger to not being able to remember things... I will learn to compensate for it. What of others... In conversion between time here and time in the real world... How much time has passed since the last person walked here besides myself?"

"In your world, no dreamer has come here in almost two and a half thousand years"

The other speaks up as if to help her understand "But in the world of Dreams, the time since there has been a dreamer is far greater. It has been nearly ten million years since dreamers have come and gone from these gates. But little has changed. Some still live from the time when dreamers came here often... and some dreamers may still live who have lived here since before these gates were untraversed, having found a way to exist here for an eternity, as their bodies in their home world have become dust"

"Seek out Atal, of the village of Ulthar. He was the desciple of Barzai the Wise, the last who sought out the Old Gods. Atal is one of the wisest men of Dreamland, and one of the most powerful. Tell him you are a dreamer. When you arrive through the gates, you will pass a forest. Head to the west, along the river, until you come across the township of Ulthar"

They hand her a small scroll, a map, it would seem to help guide the dreamer on her way

"I see... Then perhaps it will be more beneficial for me to seek him out first." She states, turning to head back down the stairs again. "Thank you both. For the guidance that is." She murmurs politely, glancing only once more back at them before continuing down the stairs. As she stepped out upon the Dreamland, she glanced around, wondering which direction would be West. She looked to the trees first for moss, unsure if such a thing, so human and mortal in nature would help her in this place, before thinking back on her conversation with the strange men and she closed her eyes, bringing her palms up in front of her, the map in her hands as she envisioned the needle of a compass, begging it to show her the westward path from her current location on it. Attempting some small measure of control over the dream as she stood there. When she opened her eyes, she looked down at the map, curious as to if she'd succeeded in her task.
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