Prentice By Trashheap Games

Instruments: 1d6, Card Deck, Block Tower

Game Description 

A great and powerful wizard took you as an apprentice. Safe and cut off from the world, you trained and studied in their private sanctuary. But you were never taught the incantations you needed in order to leave. And now your mentor is dead, the sanctuary is collapsing, and you must find a way to escape.

Game Content Warnings 

These are content warnings that are from the game prompts and are present in all playthroughs.

Playthrough Content Warnings 

These are content warnings specific to this playthrough only.

Game Playthrough

Word Count: 3,956     Played: Nov 18, 2023

Entry 1

Initial Tower Roll: 3

Ebras Osior is gone! I can feel it in the very air. I have lost the ritual to leave, and everything has started to change. The halls and stairways no longer lead where they did, and finding one is next to impossible. I need to get out of here before it all comes apart. I have no idea how, but I have to try. My mentor would not give up, and neither will I. This sanctuary is filled with wonders and secrets, I must preserve some and escape!

Tokens: 10/10

Kings: 0/4

Entry 2

Roll: 2

9 of Clubs       4 Stone guardians shaped like animals. If you could animate them would they be helpful? Pull from the tower
9 of Hearts       What was the first time you showed promise with magic? Pull from the tower

I have found the statue room near the gardens. All four of the boars are in alignment, as they should be. This tells me that nothing is too amiss. We aren't under siege, for if we were, they would have sprung into action to keep this place safe. No. Something else must have happened to wizard Osior. Something less sinister. Perhaps it was something so simple as a trip down stairs? But he would have never been so careless.

When he first approached me he was nearly floating up them, ah but that wasn't in this tower was it? It was in the other realm. When I first found this place I was scared and frightened. I was almost tricked by devils and eaten, but he knew someone who could traverse the realms and took me under his wing.

Few people believed me when I told them I was learning magic in dreams with a grand wizard.

Tokens: 10/10

Kings: 0/4

Entry 3

Roll: 4

Ace of Clubs       You find a jewel encrusted Key, you may remove 1 King
King of Diamonds       You have found your mentor's grimoire, and when you try to open it a horror peruses you. (Returned to the deck from Ace of Clubs)
7 of Diamonds       People viewed the wizard as a philosopher and prophet. Who gave him this title?
2 of Diamonds       You come across a crystal ball, who do you look for in it?

I have found the key to Wizard Osior's private chambers. I have never dared to enter before, as it is his most private room, but this is a desperate situation. The key is golden and encrusted with a bright shining gem that shifts colors in the light. I found it above the frame of the door to the chamber itself. Wonders never cease. Such a mundane hiding place, and yet, I doubt other wizards would think to look.

Inside is a room, immaculately clean, filled with odds and ends of all sorts. Silk pillows, embroidered with gold and silver, large crystals and mobiles hanging from the ceiling, sheets and silks hanging from every ceiling and the largest bed I have ever seen rested in the center far from any wall.

Some people say he was the last prophet of the Dreaming God before it was killed, and so I wonder how deep these dreams go? If we are but in a dream now, does he dream further and further, each iteration of himself creating a new world within?

The crystals hanging from the ceiling were all call-glasses. Each connected to another glass somewhere within the waking world to someone who might help. I tried in vein to call every wizard I knew, every apprentice, anyone who would listen, but I did not know which one connected to whom. No one was able to answer.

But next to the bed, on top of another silken pillow, he kept his grimoire. It too was soft made of quilt and embroidery rather than paper and ink. It was locked with a complicated cord tied into an impossible Gordian knot. Each time I tugged at a string it looped and twisted into a new pattern, each one impossible for me to untie.

There was no time for etiquette, and all spells could be replaced, this one was no exception, so I took from a pocket, a small metal knife, carved along the sides with Divine Script and attempted to slice through the knot.

The knot was not just for show. The frayed ends turned to fangs and it sank it's teeth into my flesh before growing larger and larger. Soon the ropes were long and twisted and the book itself was merely a speck on it's back. It writhed and attempted to bind me, but I fled towards the door before it could.

I locked the chamber door behind me, and I could hear it still pounding against the frame. I would not be able to enter again.

Tokens: 10/10

Kings: 0/4

Entry 4

Roll: 1

7 of Clubs       A large room with viewing crystals, each connected to another sanctuary. Who did your mentor talk to? Who will you try to reach? Pull from the tower

The crystals in the bedroom were not the only ones that wizard Osior kept in the sanctuary. I suspect those private ones were for his personal friends, family, and lovers. Ones that I would not know. Ones that may no longer be alive.

I wandered into the Calling room. This one was far more organized. Each crystal was clearly labeled with the recipient, and some with instructions on how to reach each one.

I tried every damned crystal in that place but none seemed to work. I suspect they were powered by something other than simply the spell that wakes them. I do not know this power source. Each of these are now merely glass orbs, mundane and useless to me.

Tokens: 10/10

Kings: 0/4

Entry 5

Roll: 2

3 Hearts       Something reminds you of your old life. Where did you grow up?
4 of Diamonds       You find a robe embroidered with the stars and constellations. What power does it grant you?

Wizard Osior's left his robe on the back of a chair in the dining hall. He had many, and this was one of the more plain ones, only embroidered with the stars of the world. The embroidery was enchanted to twinkle like real stars and to shift with the time of the season wherever wizard Osior appeared in the world. It was more fashion than function.

Still, it filled me with warmth to put it on my shoulders. I felt a tug at the nape of my neck and understood a flow of the world that I could not have sensed otherwise. I understood how the birds migrated, how the compass's spin, and how to find my way north no matter the direction I faced.

The embroidery reminded me of the backrooms of my father's tailor shop. He would spend long hours bent over the sewing machine perfecting every stitch, measuring everything three times and cutting with the sharpest scissors I have ever seen.

Tokens: 10/10

Kings: 4/4

Entry 6

Roll: 3

Ace of Hearts       You find the door to leave, now you must find the way to open it. Why were you an apprentice?
3 of Diamonds       Your family had high hopes. What did they give up for an apprenticeship?
10 of Clubs       The kitchen, still cooking, knives and boiling water. Go through Pull from the tower

This world twists and contorts and turns itself inside out and no two places are ever the same and I found myself in the back kitchen. Knives still flung from side to side, pots and pans swirled around, cutting vast quantities of food no one would ever eat again. Pots boiled and spilled over the sides, fires burned kettles, and trash stank. I flung myself to the floor and squirmed underneath the tables to avoid anything from touching me.

Out through the kitchen doors and down the long hall that twisted and rotated, grew smaller and larger and there it was. The massive doors to the exit. I do not know the words to open them. I was not taught them. He said it was to prevent the demons from reaching into my mind and prying it out of me. He told me horror stories of those who were trapped in an endless nightmare, being pursued by cloaked figures, and left to die in oubliettes. He also told me because I had unknowingly crossed into the realm of dreams when I slept that I would need to learn the ways of magic to save myself.

He had appeared the next day to my family and I was spirited away to this realm that was neither waking or sleeping. My father had no other children and the family business, open for nearly 400 years would cease.

Token Roll: 1

Tokens: 10/10

Kings: 0/4

Entry 7

Roll: 1

10 of Diamonds       You see a disembodied hand following you around.

The rest of it is missing, but the hand is still here with me. The nails are painted a bright blue today and filed short. Her ten rings, two on each finger, are still glistening even through his death. I picked up and placed it on my shoulder where she gripped it tight. Maybe I'll find the rest of her before it's too late.

Token Roll: 5

Tokens: 10/10

Kings: 0/4

Entry 8

Roll: 3

7 of Spads       Everything starts to crumble, and looks like things will be gone soon. How do you survive? Pull from the tower
5 of Spades       Water is pouring from the cracks in the walls. Where is it coming from? How long until everything is underwater? Pull from the tower
2 of Spades       When you enter a room you can see yourself exiting. How long do you stand frozen? Pull from the tower

Thing are going bad. I saw an iteration of myself, maybe something that already happened, maybe something that will happen again, or something that might never happen or will always happen. But it doesn't matter. I was at the end of the room and I saw myself leave. The sanctuary will collapse soon. I could already feel the stones beneath start to shift and squirm.

I stood there for a long time with Her clutching at my shoulder, tapping and digging her nails into my skin before I heard the door behind me open. I had to leave. That's how it went before, and I scrambled down the exit as I knew I was entering in behind me.

I didn't notice it until I felt it seep through my shoes, but the hallway was drenched in water. From the ceiling water trickled down the sides of the room and I knew through the magic of my coat that the baths had been re-arranged to be above it.

Things were not holding and when I moved forward the floor beneath me gave way under the weight and rot of the water. I was able to scramble quickly over to the other side, through the door that bent and buckled and twisted on its side.

I know little of the magics that hold this place together but I know the elements well and froze over that water, hoping that it would hold things in place long enough for me to escape.

Token Roll: 2

Tokens: 10/10

Kings: 0/4

Entry 9

Roll: 1

7 of Hearts       You had a friend back home. Who? Do they miss you?Pull from the tower

Isaika Impressive-Hastily was the only person I really kept in contact with in the waking world. He was my neighbor before I became an apprentice. At first, his mother made him write to me, or maybe it was my mother making his mother but I wrote back. I always wrote back.

Maybe he thought having a wizard as a friend would be a boon to him, but it was one of the few ways I received news of the world that wasn't filtered through Wizard Osior, which was uninterested in how the everyday people were affected by the changes of the world.

I wonder how long it will take him to notice that I haven't written back.

Token Roll: 1

Tokens: 10/10

Kings: 0/4

Entry 10

Roll: 5

8 of Hearts       You are here because of a chain of coincidences. What led you to being chosen to come here?
Ace of Spades       You work out a way to work with the time dilation. The next time you are asked to pull from the tower, don't and shuffle this card back in the deck
Queen of Hearts       You find a letter addressed to you with important news but you've never seen it. Who is it from? What does it say?
Ace of Diamonds       You have found your familiar, what's its name, what happened the first time you met?You can roll a 4,5,6 to remove a token
6 of Clubs       You arrive in an orrery. What is your world called? Do you think your mentor's death means the world is doomed?

In the orrery everything seems so small. It's hard to learn... it was shocking to learn... Knowing that there is more out there that just us. He called them 'planets' or giant rocks that float in the grand world of 'outer space.'

Planet BN-1085. Vellen.

He said we were the first made, and we'd be the first to die, consumed within slowly by a nightmare borne of the Dreaming God. He didn't give me much details after that.

That was the only time I asked him if he worshiped any gods. He chucked and said not anymore; there wasn't much to gain from knowledge from only one source. He even pointed to me and said I was from an arrangement of coincidences. Everything lined up just right for me to slip between the cracks of the waking world and dreaming world.

The cloak resonated strongly with the room, and since I could feel the way the fields moved in the world and connect them with the markings on the planets in the contraptions, we were safer here for a long time. The sanctuary wouldn't collapse around us anytime soon and I could think and ponder and wait.

If I hadn't I wouldn't have found Fitter, trapped on the glue of a stamp on a letter. A Comostola laesaria, a moth with a wing span smaller than my pinky, and nearly impossible to see. When she isn't about she perches on my eyebrow and she's returned now. Having her near makes me feel at ease. It was easy to free her and she took her place on me.

I summoned her from a book, one of the first few things I did on my own and one of the first times Wizard Osior praised me.

The letter was addressed to me, the date on it says tomorrow, from a place with an address that vanishes from one moment to another.

I ripped it open, and read what I already knew. Wizard Osior was dead and I needed to claim his body or it would be forfeit to a king to do as he pleased. I shuddered and thought of the bodies of prophets and saints whos bones laid in ornate glass coffins.

Token Roll: 4

Tokens: 9/10

Kings: 0/4

Entry 11

Roll: 5

King of Clubs       You enter the study and ominous whispering attacks you. Roll 1d6 and remove that many blocks from the tower Ace of Spades
10 of Spades       Gaps of space have appeared. Do you brave them?(No)
Jack of Spades       You are uncertain of how many days have passed, and what is real and what is a dream. Discard 3 Cards
6 of Spades       You ascend a staircase that turns into a slide as gravity reverses Pull from the Tower
6 of Hearts       Were there any other adults you spent your time with other than family?

The way into the study was ominous and jarring every time. I knew that the switch will come, but still it frightened me. To reach it I must ascend a staircase and halfway up it, it will switch as if the room had been rotated with me in the center, and I would fall down through a slide that was once the stairs.

The Wizard thought it was fun, but I could never tell when the switch happened and every time, every single time, I screamed.

I saw through the blur as I slid further down into the study the extent to which everything was coming undone. Seams had begun to rip apart and nothing was to be seen in between them. It was as if I was looking into the idea of the nothing itself. I closed my eyes until I reached the bottom.

Inside the study things were dire. The ink on the maps had rearranged themselves into impossible continents. The books were out of order, out of print, and shifted and squirmed their symbols into meaningless gibberish. The long silk was shredding itself into fibers and picking apart the bindings of each book.

But the whispers were the worst of all. They told me I was still dreaming. They told me I never left the painted lands of the magic portraits. They told me he wasn't really dead. They told me this was but a test and they knew the way, and that I had traversed that candle path many times before but I just wouldn't wake up. I needed to wake up. I needed to wake up.

Her dug her nails into me hard and Fitter brushed against my face. Everything they said was lies. I wanted them to be true. Wanted so badly to wake, but this was real. I ran through the study and out the other side as I heard the voice of Isaika plead to me to wake up. He was sorry that he missed me the last time I was in town. He wanted to see me again.

I ran through to the end of the study and out the other end. There was nothing in here for me to find.

Token Roll: 1

Tokens: 9/10

Kings: 1/4

Entry 12

Roll: 4

Ace of Spades       You work out a way to work with the time dilation. The next time you are asked to pull from the tower, don't and shuffle this card back in the deck
9 of Spades       The walls crack and split, what are they made of? what is beyond? Pull from the towerAce of Spades
5 of Hearts       There was another who could have had this apprenticeship? who was it? Pull from the tower
2 of Hearts       You are reminded of your old life. Where did you grow up?

I heard her whispering through the walls. Shala. She was almost the apprentice instead of me. But she screamed and cried and wailed that she wouldn't be taken away from her family, and they relented. She was consumed by demons.

Sometimes when I fall asleep in this place between places I can see her standing outside my window. Each year I grow older and each year she stays the same.

There's nothing outside the windows now except that same black void. The walls crack further and I can see the dreamstuff splinter and turn to dust. Fitter gnaws on my eyebrow hair and helps me stretch myself through a slowed time to escape the falling walls into a smaller coat room.

His robes are hanging everywhere, most of them simply mundane. The truly magical ones are someplace special. This reminds me of the backrooms of the tailor's shop. People would sometimes just give clothes to my father that they thought were beyond repair. He would try to salvage them the best he could, but often they ended up in piles upon piles in the backrooms.

I used to tunnel through them and play in them like they were pieces of a mountain, or I was a mole beneath the earth. I first entered into the dream world when I fell asleep in one of those piles.

Token Roll: 1

Tokens: 9/10

Kings: 1/4

Entry 13

Roll: 3

King of Diamonds       You have found your mentor's grimoire, and when you try to open it a horror peruses you.
King of Spades       You open a door at the end of the library and stumble into oblivion. The void pulls everything including you into it.

I was content to stay in that closet as long as I could, but I knew that the Grimoire had found me again when it wrapped its roped tendrils around my ankle and pulled me to the ground. There must be other entrances to the bedroom I am not aware of, or it has burst through the door, wrecking them completely.

I pulled coat after coat upon the book and weighed them down heavy with magic that bound it to the floor. It still had a hold of me when I pulled myself through the door into the other side.

The end of the hallway stretched thin and vanished into nothing. Darkness was all around me, and to look into it was to see Nothing and I knew from my training that Existence itself had come to reclaim this place, to fill the void in itself to make itself more.

Her jumped from my shoulder hand scrambled at the door knob, pulling it open and unconfining the grimoire, where it pulled me violently back inside.

These were just things. Things that would be erased along with myself if I couldn't escape, and so I set them afire. The grimoire fled down into the closet, through a crack and out where I couldn't see it. I followed, hoping I too could find a way out.

Token Roll: 3

Tokens: 9/10

Kings: 3/4

Entry 14

Roll: 3

Queen of Spades       You find an idyllic farm house. You could live here forever but this place is also doomed.
Ace of Spades       You work out a way to work with the time dilation. The next time you are asked to pull from the tower, don't and shuffle this card back in the deck
King of Hearts       You know you cannot win. You accept your fate.

With everything that I had I wretched open a door and fell clean through into the open sky, tumbling down and towards the soft grass. It was wet with morning dew and smelled like it had been freshly cut.

A cow grazed lazily in the field next to me, and further beyond it, a field with fresh fruits and fresh vegetables. It was a scene from a child's picture book. The idea of a farm that could not exist.

This place was as real as the sanctuary itself, perhaps even less so. It was another dream with in that half-waking dream.

The farmhouse was empty, but the table was set with fresh bread, cured meats, cheeses, wines, honey, everything that one could want on a warm summer day.

On the horizon the darkness spread. This place could not last. I could not last. I set Fitter upon the honey, and we both ate the best meal of our lives.

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