Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Dreams and Portents

The party drifts off to sleep, dreaming of elves, and revenge...
 
Chartreuse's Dream:
 
You drift off to sleep, dreaming of elves and revenge...

You're at play in the trees of your youth, spinning and skipping from one branch to the next, always above the ground, never touching the earth.

"Skyskipper..." an unearthly voice floats through the air, whisping around your legs and arms before floating into your ears.  You see your childhood friends, down on the ground, waving at you and inviting you to join them.  They don't see the Yuan-Ti rising up behind them, their curved, wicked blades flashing in the sunlight as they cut down your friends.  A scream rises from the forest beneath you and the High Elves charge towards the Yuan-Ti, and the battle is engaged.

"Skyskipper... I am finished..." the wind whispers to you, and the trees you cling to grow higher and higher, and you see that the land around where the elves and Yuan-Ti battle is crumbling, turning gray and floating away into a void, like ash from the pipe.  The land grows smaller and smaller, until there is not even room enough to battle, and the combatants themselves turn to ash and are gone.

"The High Elves have lost their way, lost their way in their hatred of the snakes, they no longer hear my pleas, but I am dying.  I am no longer able to... to..."  the voice fades away, and you are left, sitting on the branch of a tree, all alone in the perfect darkness of the void.  You cry out, but the darkness swallows the noise. 

You wake up with a start, your throat tight, your heart hammering in your chest.  Looking about wildly, you see your companions sleeping around you, and all is as you left it when you fell asleep.  It was just a dream, you tell yourself.  Just a dream.
 
Wasn't it?
 
 
Luke Daggerbeard's Dream:
 
You drift off to sleep, dreaming of elves and revenge...
 
You're back at the fields of play from your youth, running and jumping with the other children.   Suddenly, clouds roll in overhead, and a thick, goopey rain begins to fall.  Thunder rumbles and lightning splits the skies, giving the world a strobe-like intensity.  The other children run away, leaving you all alone on the field. 
 
Suddenly though, you realize that you are not alone after all.  Peering through the rain, you see that a lone dwarf stands at the edge of the field.  He is stooped and leaning heavily on a giant warhammer.  He beckons with one hand, and despite the fear you feel in the pit of your stomach, your feet stumble forward, bringing you into his presence.  Despite being bent almost double, he looms over you, and you gaze deep into his eyes, feeling as though you could drown in their depths. 
 
His eyebrows gather in the center of his forehead, and he glowers at you for a moment before he rumbles, "Time to grow up, boy.  The time fer dancin' and playin' is done.  There be darkness comin', and although you ain't one of my chosen, yer still family.  Yer pretty handy with that bastard sword, eh?  Not my first choice fer a weapon, fer sure, but it'll do in a pinch, won't it, eh?"
 
He chuckles, and the sky rumbles in answer.
 
"Now listen here, and listen good.  Yer a dwarf, boy, and the time is come fer ye ta act like one.  Ye've never been the prayin' type, so I've got no boons ta offer ye, beyond advice, and a warnin'.  Time's comin' when there'll be darkness a'plenty, and only my clerics can carry the light.  You make sure he gets where he needs to go, and ye'll always have a place at my hearth."
 
The dwarf looms larger, until he seems to swallow the entire world, "Me advice?  Quit playin' around with tha High elves - they've let their head wrap clear around up their arses, sure enough.  They're already in darkness, and can't see what's comin'.  Not anymore."
 
You've lost sight of the dwarf, and you find yourself in darkness. You cry out for your sister, for anyone, but there is no response.
 
You awake with a start, panting as though you've just run a marathon.  It was just a dream, you tell yourself.  Just a dream.
 
Wasn't it?
 
Banebeard's Dream:
 
You drift off to sleep, dreaming of elves and revenge...
 
In your dream, you're back in the temple, walking the halls, but no-one is around.  Your footsteps echo resoundingly, filling your ears and you begin to run, searching for someone, anyone.  Suddenly, you hear the banging of a hammer, coming from the forge.  With a cry of relief, you run back through the temple and burst through the doors of the forge.  There, you find an old dwarf leaning on a hammer near the forge, staring at you through a pair of busy eyebrows.  His hair is white and tied back in a braid, and the wrinkles on his face are like deep crevasses carved into the flesh of his soot-darkened face. 
"So, you be Banebeard."
You try to speak, but find yourself without a voice.  Your mouth moves, but nothing comes out so you gape, like a fish out of water.
"My Temple Guard.  Yer havin' a rough year, ain't ye?  Lost yer temple, lost yer beard, and now you're traipsin' around in the woods helpin' out the stinkin' elves!" 
Turning, he coughs up a slug of phlegm and hawks it into the forge, which flares up mightily.
"And what of my gem, eh?  I left that down in that temple so long they forgot about everything but it's ability to magick the beer, but it can do much more.  Ye've forgotten all about that, have ye?"
Stalking over, the old dwarf grabs your chin between thumb and index finger and pulls you down so he can stare you in the eyes.  "Dark times be comin' boy.  Dark times indeed, and I'll be needin' ye to carry the light into the darkness, so don't be fergettin' who it is that grants ye all them spells ye like tossin' around so much.  I don't mind, to be honest I like yeh, but don't be fergettin' from whence the beer be flowing."
Spinning you around, he gives you a clap on the back which sends you sprawling forward.  You trip and you're falling and falling and
You wake up with a start, breathing heavily.  You realize something is different, and your hands fly to your face to find a full flowing beard, miraculously restored overnight.  It was just a dream, you tell yourself.  But even as you tell yourself so, your fingers run through the fullness of your beard.  It couldn't have been a dream.
 
Could it?
 
Torvalds' Dream:
 
You drift off to sleep, dreaming of grapes and yeti...

You drift in a cloud of a million million colors, light as a feather, as comfortable as the most comfortable cushion.  Gazing languidly around you, you see that there are objects floating in the colors.  Looking closer, you see that each of these objects is actually a crystalline sphere.  Looking closer, you see that within each sphere spins small marbles, all revolving around a small dot of fire.  Suddenly, from one of the spheres, you see a tower of blue light flare, spinning upwards.  You see the blue light race towards a giant mirror, floating in the colors.  It strikes it and destroys it utterly, passing onwards, but its course has been adjusted, and it moves on in a slightly different direction.  Again it strikes another mirror, and is deflected again, and again and again, until finally it is headed directly towards a crystalline sphere.  This sphere is different, though.  While the others are bright and reflective, this sphere is dark and dull, with streaks of angry red and orange running across it, like abarely cooled magma field.  You try and look within, as you have the others, but find your sight blocked, and you are unable to see within.

The blue light strikes the sphere, and is absorbed.  There is a rumbling, and for a brief moment, an opening appears in the dul rock, and you can see within.  You push yourself down, down down, trying to peek through the hole, and you sense the hole beginning to close, and you know that only you can hold it open, though it may mean your life...

You awake suddenly, sweating profusely.  It was just a dream, you tell yourself... it was just a dream...

Wasn't it?
 
Of course not!  You are Torvalds, and surely this is a sign of your imminent ascension!
 

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