Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess

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This page contains information that can be considered spoilers. You Have Been Warned.

Contents

Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess.

This is one of the strange dreams you can have from opportunity cards in Echo Bazaar. If you don't want it spoiled, don't read any further! Otherwise, this documents the progress of the dream and effects you may receive/suffer.

The description of the quality is "Dreams about contests with usual opponents".

Red-bordered cards

These cards will be automatically played if you have the action points to spare. They require no choices and as far as I can tell, have no chance of "failure", so what you see is what you get. The number in brackets is the level of dream which unlocks the opportunity.


A dream about a clock (-)

You dream that you are standing in a cobbled square, at the foot of an immense bell-tower. You are looking up at the clock face, high above you. It is about to strike twelve. You are quite certain you should be elsewhere when it does.

  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess. +
  • Nightmares +
  • Watchful +


A dream about a row of tombs (1)

You dream of standing in an avenue of statues. Each is massive, much larger than life, as if together they represented a race of giants. There are long-dead kings and queens, armoured soldiers and cloaked clergy. Your footsteps echo: this place must be as big as a cathedral.

The marble giants stand above their own tombs. Some of these huge sarcophagi are empty. The lid of one has been pushed aside. You walk over to it. On the base of the statue is carved the word NORTH.

  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess. +
  • Nightmares +
  • Watchful +

A dream about a battlefield (2)

You dream that you are walking in a garden. It is lush and verdant, and the flowers fill the air with scent. You turn your face to the sun. It is a hot vivid crimson through your closed eyelids.

In the distance, faint noises. Shouting, screaming, clashing metal, thundering hooves. You open your eyes. You are upon a parapet, looking down at a battle being fought on a vast plain, but it is so far away as to be meaningless. You turn and walk through a gate into a Veilgarden alley.

  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess. +
  • Nightmares +


A dream about strategy (3)

You dream of wandering in a vast library. You are searching for a book. You know the book's name because it was tattooed on the thigh of a lover. Is that right? No, maybe not. But you have it anyway, written in tiny letters on a postage-stamp.

You turn corner after corner, following a winding path through the stacks, until you are utterly lost. Shelves loom above you in the fading light. It is cold now. Finally, you stop for a rest. The titles of the books on the shelf beside you all contain the word NORTH.

  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess. +
  • Nightmares +
  • Watchful +


A dream about capture (4)

You dream that you are walking along a straight path in a dark green forest. The air is pine-scented, cold and clear. The path narrows.

An ambush! A soldier leaps out of the trees in front of you, brandishing a sword. You stop. You could be looking into a mirror - this soldier could be your twin.

You ready your sword. We shall see who is capturing whom, here.

  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess. +
  • Nightmares +
  • You've gained 1 x Sudden Insight

A dream about a candlelit church (8)

You dream that you are in a church, late at night. Dim and flickering candlelight serves only to thicken the vast shadows. The air is cold, just tinged with the very last remnants of incense. You are kneeling at the altar, robed and hooded.

A procession enters, swinging a fresh thurifer, ringing a quiet bell. They are chanting softly in a language that hurts your ears and makes red stars explode in your closed eyes.

The procession halts behind you. You turn to look. The One-Eyed Bishop is standing there, and he carries a stone knife. But your eye is drawn to the tattoo on his cheek. That symbol can only be Clathermont's work.

  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess +
  • Nightmares +
  • You've gained 1 x Sudden Insight


A dream about a map (11)

You dream that you are in the castle, planning battle strategies with the Beleaguered King. You push models around on a relief map - the plain is spread out in miniature before you. You take great pleasure in arranging and rearranging the multi-coloured horses and little tin men. It is easy to forget that these toys represent real people. 'Not real for much longer,' says the King. 'Soon they'll all be deader even than you.' You notice that the model plain has developed its own little campfires. Just sparks at first - but soon the whole thing is aflame, and thick smoke spreads throughout the room. You search for a cup of water, but there is none to be had anywhere in the kingdom.

  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess +
  • Nightmares +

A dream about geometry (12?)

You dream that you are in a peaceful garden. This place is very familiar to you; there are the graceful avenues of planes, over there the rose-bower, and here is the beautiful fountain you love. Water splashes and sparkles in the sunlight.

You are talking to a small child - the Silver-Eyed Prince. You are using a stick to draw patterns in the gravel, trying to explain vectors and directions, points and angles, squares and triangle. But the Prince is wilfully refusing to understand. As you try to explain these simple principles, the sky grows dark. Soon, it begins to rain, and your carefully-drawn patterns are smudged away.

  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess. +
  • Nightmares +


A dream about the Red-Handed Queen (17)

You dream that you are ranging through a castle. a crown sits heavily upon your head. Your hands are dark red, unbearably sticky. You rub them together, in a washing motion, over and over, as you walk. Your robe is heavy and stiff and swishes as you stride. It is mostly crimson, although here and there are patches of ivory.

You can go anywhere. You use secret passages to enter the rooms of your enemies, vulnerable in their sleep. You climb dark staircases and cross vast, silent halls. You manage to stay several steps ahead of those other assassins, the One-Eyed Bishop and the Lonely Knight. You can do anything. Anything except scrubbing this gore from your hands.

  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess. +
  • Nightmares +

White-bordered cards

These cards give you a choice when you play them, and you may opt out at no penalty. Once again, the number in brackets is the level in dream required to unlock the opportunity.


A dream about a stable (4)

You dream that you are in a stable. The air smells of fresh hay and sweat; it is quite dark in here, but you can see row upon row of huge stalls holding massive, snorting, wild-eyed horses. Some are black as night, visible only by their rolling chestnut eyes; others seem to gleam in the darkness, as white as stars. They stand and stamp, impatient. 'Well, pick one, then,' says a cat's voice. 'We haven't got all day.'

Choose a black horse

They are magnificent. To ride one of these is to merge with the shadows.

As black as the night sky

You choose a beautiful, sleek, ink-black horse. 'Well, well,' comments the cat. 'Thought so. You're one of them...mysterious types, aren't you.'

  • Nightmares +
  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess +
  • Shadowy +


Choose a pale horse

What ethereal beauty they possess! Well, as ethereal as several hundredweight of furious, sweating horse can be, anyway.


An intriguing choice

The pale horse shines in the stable like moonlight. You cannot take your eyes from it. 'Hmmm,' comes the cat's voice. 'You go for the softly, softly approach, don't you?'

  • Nightmares +
  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess +
  • Persuasive +


Choose a red horse

They seem the most spirited. Fiery, you might say.

Like rust. Or blood.

@EmilyStAubert made me. The horse's coat is a most peculiar and wonderful colour. Russet, ochre, chestnut, all blending and changing. But it's the fire in its eyes that attracts you the most. 'Fearsome!' smirks the cat. 'Are you sure that will suit you?'

  • Nightmares +
  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess +
  • Dangerous +


Choose a white horse

They dazzle the eye. The purest white coat, and strange, spinning red eyes. Strange even by horse standards.

It will see more than you realise

This snow-white beauty regards you with un-horse-like intelligence. It is calmer than the others, almost thoughtful. 'Wise one, that,' says the cat. 'Sharp as a tack. Cunning, too. You don't see that often.'

  • Nightmares
  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess +
  • Watchful

A dream about galloping (5)

You dream that you are on horseback, galloping towards a foe. You ready your sword as you fly through the night. But who is your enemy?


You are pursuing a current enemy

Your shadier activities have brought you into contact with some unsavoury characters. Grudges are being nurtured.(unlocked with Connected: Criminals 2)

A nasty confrontation

You are racing to confront a dangerous criminal. Your horse is eager for a fight, and spurring you on.

You catch up with your quarry at the edge of the marshes, where they lurk in their lair. There is a face at the window. Your horse snorts and rears wildly as the villain grins and raises a beautiful ratwork rifle. In seconds, you are fleeing for your lives.

  • Nightmares +
  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess +
  • Shadowy +


Your enemy is unknown to you

Enemy? But everybody likes you! Still, you feel the flare of hatred for whoever it is you might be chasing.

A vicious fight

Your horse leads you unerringly to your quarry, whoever it is. Both they and their mount are heavily armoured. You are upon them in an instant, slashing and stabbing, your swords clashing, cutting, jabbing. Soon there is nothing left but a bloody, pulpy mass, shards of metal dripping gore onto the grass. You are breathing heavily, still fired up. But as you stare at the mess on the ground, you realise there is no way now to find out who you have killed. Your sword drops from your hand. A couple of cats snigger quietly at you from a windowsill. Where exactly are you?

  • Nightmares +
  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess +
  • Watchful -


You will be facing an enemy from your past

Past events have been weighing heavily on your mind. (unlocked with Recalling the Surface: Dangerous 1)

Your elusive quarry

You were worried about an old enemy's reappearance. Now, in this place, it is time for the confrontation you have avoided for so long. The wind in your hair is exhilarating. You are ready.

You ride for a long while but come no closer closer to finding the villain from your past. You are galloping up your own street now. All the shutters are closed. There is no one here except a silent grey cat.

  • Nightmares +
  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess +


A dream about castle battlements (6)

You dream that you are standing on the high ramparts of a crumbling castle, surveying the dusty plain below. The sun is setting, and the plain is dotted with lights as the campfires of besieging forces wink into life. You are deep in negotiations with a Beleaguered King, desperate to persuade him to adopt a new strategy.


Implore the King to attack

The Beleaguered King is weary and sad. You must re-ignite his fighting spirit.

A rousing speech

You gesticulate wildly; you stab at the map with an eager finger; you speak with impassioned fervour. The castle cannot survive a siege, you argue. Attack is your only chance of survival!

The Beleaguered King stands impassively, shaking his heavy head. 'The thunder told me,' he says. 'I do what the thunder said.'

  • Nightmares +
  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess +
  • Forceful +

Beg the King to withdraw

The enemy is surrounding the castle. Arming for a siege is the only sane course of action.

Raise the drawbridge!

Man the trebuchets! Set the tar to boiling, ready for the murder holes! You are aflame with enthusiasm and ready to defend your home. The Beleaguered King looks at you and you see grief and exhaustion in his eyes. 'Only dead men. Dead men walking,' he says. Such negativity, you think, as you go to close the drapes at your window.

  • Nightmares +
  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess +
  • Melancholy +

A dream about a soldiers' camp (7)

You dream that you are a spy, deep inside the enemy camp. You need to gain somebody's trust; you have important disinformation to spread. The soldiers are in little groups, arranged around their campfires. Most of them seem to be cooking. Delicious smells assault you.

Grab a free meal

Sidle your way into one of the little groups. Listen. And get a bowl of stew out of the deal.

This lot have the best stew.

You choose the warmest camp-fire and collect a bowl of stew. Pork, you think. You really meant to listen, but it's so tasty you lose track of what they're saying. If there is discussion of strategic matters, it goes over your head. You push your bowl forwards for seconds. But the more you eat, the hungrier you get. Is that rumbling noise thunder, or just your stomach?

  • Nightmares +
  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess +
  • Shadowy +
  • Unaccountably Peckish + (starts you on Unaccountably Peckish--a new thing without the need for personal interaction with Mr Eaten, maybe?--if you don't have that quality)

Make an entrance

No point trying for subtlety. This is war. Go straight to the tent with the most important-looking flags draped around it.

'I bring urgent news!'

You burst into the tent and start ranting about enemy movements, surprise attacks and treachery in the highest echelons - all of this intended to confuse the enemy. Pausing to draw breath, you realise that you are addressing... a group of cats. They snicker at you. 'This one's been behind the mirror a little bit too long,' says one. 'No - too far North, more like!' replies another. How do they manage to convey such amusement with those beautiful, calm, green and yellow eyes?

  • Nightmares +
  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess +
  • Persuasive +


A dream about a cloister (10)

You dream that you are walking along a cloister that leads from the chapel to the castle. You walk in the midst of a group of monks carrying books, their habits flapping like crows' wings. You must steal the secrets that another monk is carrying before they reach the One-Eyed Bishop.

Engineer a substitution

These monks are in a hurry. It would be easy to trip one of them up and swap their books with yours. (A matter of luck: it could go either way.)

Nicely done (fortunate)

You stick out a foot, and a fellow monk goes tumbling. Solicitously you help him up, slipping several of your books into his stack while helping yourself to the most promising of his. You are congratulating yourself on your adeptness and preparing to make a run for it when another one of the group turns and says, 'Yes, well. He's going to have to go North now, thanks to you.'

  • You were fortunate!
  • Nightmares +
  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess +

Oops. (unfortunate)

You stick out a foot, and monks tumble around you like skittles. That was not quite what you intended, but you take advantage and gather up as many books as you can. You duck out of the cloister and run across the sunlit garden and up the staircase opposite. Ducking through a door, you find yourself in your favourite Veilgarden tavern. A ginger cat offers to buy you a drink. You must be dreaming.

  • You were unlucky. Better luck next time...
  • Nightmares +
  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess +

Set fire to your books to distract attention (with having Recurring Dreams: The Fire Sermon 10)

There's candles everywhere, so why not?

A beautiful blaze (fortunate)

You take a candle from a sconce and touch it to the corner of a book. Soon, you're holding a merry column of fire. One of the monks hands you his own books, to fuel the fire with their secrets.

  • You were fortunate!
  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess +
  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: The Fire Sermon +

Alas (unfortunate)

You take a candle from a sconce and touch it to the corner of a book. In moments, your stack is too hot to handle, and you have to drop it. Cinders fly around you on columns of hot air. When you wake, you will have sore patches on your hands.

  • You were unlucky. Better luck next time...
  • Wounds +
  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess +
  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: The Fire Sermon +

A dream about a clergyman (12)

You dream OF standing before a vast polished desk in an opulent office. The walls are covered in red velvet flocking; the gleam of expensive gilt is everywhere. You are heavily robed in red.

The One-Eyed Bishop sits behind the desk. He is the Head of the Church. You watch an ornate clock behind his head; what are you doing here? Your gaze falls upon the tattoo on his cheek. You can see it clearly, now. It says that you must kill this man in order to live.


Use poison

Your natural inclination, when faced with assassinating a holy man, is to be subtle. This is the perfect chance to try out that exquisite poison-ring you found on a stall in Spite.

'Tea, your Grace?'

You lace the One-Eyed Bishop's tea with a generous dose of the finest powdered spider-venom. Well, it seems appropriate. Whoever told you the effect would be subtle was lying, though. The Bishop's death-throes are elaborate and drawn out. After a while, you find yourself wishing that you could simply go and have a lie-down.

But it is done, at last. You slip away down the Bishop's private staircase, shedding your robes on the way, and make your escape. It is not long before you are safely tucked away on board a boat heading North.

  • Nightmares +
  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess +
  • Shadowy +
  • Subtle +


Use your knife

There's no time to waste waiting around for poison to do the job.

A frenzied attack

Once you begin to stab the One-Eyed Bishop, you find it difficult to stop. But where is the blood? The harder you stab, the whiter the corpse. It is like punching holes in a giant puffball fungus. Eventually, you look down. Those red robes - they're clinging to you, sticky and heavy with all the blood that should have been in the body. You drop the knife.

You are fleeing on horseback. From behind, you can hear the shouts of pursuers. They are gaining. Your horse turns to you and advises you to let him take you somewhere safe. 'Parabola?', he says. Whatever that means.

  • Nightmares +
  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess +
  • Dangerous +
  • Forceful +

A dream about a flight from danger (13)

You dream that you are on horseback, fleeing across the castle drawbridge at the last minute - the soldiers are winching it up even as you reach the safety of the far side. Your long black cloak streams behind you as you gallop away.

You are not alone. Huddled behind you, hands clasped tightly around your waist, the Innocent Princess rides with you, concealed by your cloak. She is hooded and blindfolded. You have taken on the duty of bearing her to safety, spiriting her away from beneath the enemy's nose. You assured her mother, the Red-Handed Queen, that you would protect her with your life.

Keep your promise

Guard the Innocent Princess as if she were your own daughter.

A jewel in a muck-heap

Your noble horse does not let you down. By nightfall, you have carried the Innocent Princess to the safety of a tiny mountain hamlet and concealed her in a barn belonging to a poor but honest family. It's all wonderfully romantic. You can feel your cloak swirling around you in the mist.

You walk across the road to Dante's Grill for a well-earned mug of porter. Thirsty work, this selflessly-rescuing-heroines business.

  • Nightmares +
  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess +
  • Magnanimous +
  • Steadfast +


Take care of yourself

The last thing you need is a whining child slowing you down. She is pretty enough. Someone will take her off your hands.

Oh, they'll take good care of her.

You abandon the Innocent Princess at the first opportunity. Those gentlemen seemed honourable enough, after all. Even kindly, in their way. So what if you met them in a less-than-salubrious tavern? That lady with them seemed almost motherly.

  • Nightmares +
  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess +
  • Heartless +

Hand her to the enemy

It is not betrayal if you say you were acting as a double agent all along.

Sell her to the highest bidder?

No, no. This is a political coup. You deliver the Innocent Princess, barefoot and blindfolded still, to the enemy camp. They will use her as a hostage, so you know she will be relatively safe.

It's afternoon already. You head over to Mrs Plenty's Carnival for a bit of relaxing lizard-throwing. Maybe some Rubbery Lumps later. Mm.

  • Nightmares +
  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess +
  • Ruthless +

A dream about a queen (14)

You dream that you are in the Red-Handed Queen's dressing-room, helping her pick out silks and shoes. She is quite the most beautiful woman you have ever seen. You while away hours holding up richly coloured satins for her to admire, combing her hair and pouring her wine. Listening to the music of her laughter. Is there anything you would not do for this woman?

Nothing would be too much to ask.

And the doing would be its own reward.

Assassinate the Beleaguered King?

Yes. You will murder the King, or die trying! You will also go forthwith to Clathermont's Tattoo Parlour, as the Queen desires you to bear a secret mark on your shoulder. 'A compass, the needle pointing North,' she says.

  • Nightmares +
  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess +


There are some limits

You would not harm a child, for example. Or voluntarily consume Mrs Plenty's Rubbery Lumps.

This displeases the Red-Handed Queen.

'I am sending you away with the thunder,' she says. 'You will also go to the lightning. The dead men will take you North for a burial at sea.' Her cat just looks at you.

  • Nightmares +
  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess +


A dream about a king (16)

You dream that you are standing on the ramparts of the castle, amongst a cluster of soldiers. You are gathered around the Beleaguered King. He is ancient and tired. His eyes are wells of sorrowful wisdom.

Will you now declare your willingness to give your life to protect the King, swearing on his armoured crown?

Swear fealty. And mean it.

Be prepared to lay down your life for your King. What nobility, what valour is yours!

Carried away by the romance of it all

You declare your allegiance fervently. The Beleaguered King looks into your eyes with pity. 'We ask more of those who make their sacrifices willingly. Will you go to the North for me? Will you bring me the fire that the Masters use in battle? Will you sacrifice something precious to the Thunder?' A white raven whispers in your ear. 'Huh. He should be asking the dead men, if you ask me.' This is not helpful.

  • Nightmares +
  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess +
  • Steadfast +


Pay lip service only

Well, you have to say something in a situation like this. But you don't have to mean what you say.

You swear allegiance by all that you hold holy

The Beleaguered King is unaware that you hold very little holy, save prisoner's honey and Black Wings absinthe. He offers you his trust. A precious thing, the King's trust. There is bound to be someone who will pay a high price for its betrayal.

The Silver-Eyed Prince has walked up behind you. He kicks your ankle. 'I want candied mushrooms! I want spore-toffee! I want Rubbery Lumps!' he whines. You look about you for a cat to take charge of him, but for once, there are none to be seen.

  • Nightmares +
  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess +
  • Ruthless +


A dream about the Beleaguered King (18)

You dream that you are trapped with the Beleaguered King at the very top of a tower, high above the battlefields. It is time to choose your allegiance.

Remain loyal to the King

His honour and wisdom deserve nothing less. Protect him.

The secret passageway

You hustle the King to a nearby fireplace. Pull forward the sconce, and a hidden door grinds open. The King sets off down the stairs, but you are arrested by the mirror above the mantelpiece. Swimming misty letters form on the surface, spelling out 'HTRON'. Throne? The physical throne? Or the figurative sense? You shake your head, and follow the King down the secret stairs.

  • Nightmares +
  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess +
  • Steadfast +

Be loyal to the Red-Handed Queen

She has so much more power than the King. The rewards she will offer are so much more...tangible than simple honour and pride.

Weaving in her parlour

The Queen barely looks up from her tapestry. 'Trapped, is he? Good. Well, you can push him out of the window if you wish,' she says. 'Yes. Give him to the thunder. He's always talking about it. It's probably what he wants.'

Her fingers leave gory marks on the shuttle and on the weft. Well, it will make an interesting pattern. The movement of the loom is fascinating, and you stare until a black cat tuts at you. 'What are you looking at?' it asks. 'Anyone would think the secrets of the Correspondence were in there.' You look up. What were you doing again?

  • Nightmares
  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess +
  • Rutheless

A dream about a sacrifice (19)

You dream that you are the Lonely Knight. You are on horseback and heavily armoured, barely able to see through your visor. You parade along the high battlements, and the armies are gathered on the plain below, silent and waiting. The sun is strong in the sky.

You must make a sacrifice. It is what the thunder said. Before you stands the Innocent Princess, barefoot and blindfolded, wrapped in her robe. Her hands are outstretched, but she is calm. You dismount.

Make the sacrifice

Step forward. Close your eyes. Trust that you will know what to do when the time comes.(A matter of luck: it could go either way.)

You make your decision (fortunate)

You step forward, close your eyes, and push the girl over the edge. Thunder carries her away. You are left with only a cat for company. 'Well, that's torn it,' says the cat. 'War's lost, then.'

  • Nightmares +
  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess +


You make your choice (unfortunate)

You step forward, close your eyes and walk over the edge of the cliff. The wind whispers in your ear. 'That was nobly done. The war is won. You, on the other hand, I must to take to sea.' You keep your eyes closed.

  • Nightmares +
  • Dreaming Strange Dreams: A Game of Chess +


A Game of Chess [(3) with Nemesis 11 in 'The tomb-colony of Venderbight']

A man swathed in black bandages sits at a table in the Stalagmite Arcade, challenging all comers to a chess match.

Go over when he beckons?

'Yes, you,' he hisses. 'The pieces told me your name. They say you are looking for the Red-Handed Queen. The one with the knife. Play me.'


Checkmate.

He's a cunning opponent. But you are tireless and dogged and brilliant. He topples his king with one finger, and without looking up recites a list of names. Perhaps you can make something of them...

  • Ambition: Nemesis +