Those Things Which Seem...[Fanfic]

Tel'aran'rhiod and Portal Worlds
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"A Crown of Swords"
Posts: 577
Joined: May 25th, 2015, 9:09 pm
PC: Valadin Manelle
Location: The Four Kings, Illinois

Those Things Which Seem...[Fanfic]

Post by Sean » March 25th, 2016, 9:55 am

Her face was hauntingly beautiful and familiar.

Tel’aran’rhiod added an ethereal nature to the almond-shaped visage, clouding it in mystery. Despite the innocence of her appearance whenever she appeared it was in mean clothing—rags unbefitting such a pure soul. Often there would be shadows looming over her as she moved through murky undetailed space that was the Dream world, yet the distinct impression of mud imprinted itself strongly whenever he saw her.

It was then that Valadin became conscious of his own presence in the Dream.

Never before had he known himself to Dreamwalk without willing it. Or am I?

The girl whom he shared unexplained attachment with began to drift into the abyss. Letting her go would have been the wiser thing—the Dream world was not a place to explored even for the foolhardy and Val still didn’t understand how he’d come to arrive in Tel’aran’rhiod without seeking it out. Such a thing hadn’t happened since his days as a Dedicated. Good sense told him to return his essence back to the waking world where his body lay safe in the arms of the woman he loved, but something tugged him after the fading image of the young woman. It wasn’t a tangible force, yet it urged all the same.

Soon he came to a place that was darker than the last. The sense that this was a very old place encouraged feelings of dread and awe. Not far ahead the girl was running, her tattered skirts trailing behind her in a tail of light. Shadowy hands gave chase, their murky arms missing by the barest of measures. Again Valadin knew this to be a dream. The vague illumination that lit the scene gave warning of the tricks the Dream could play upon one’s mind. Once a Brown had asked him to describe what it was like to move through the World of Dreams and the only word that came to mind was dangerous.

A good Dreamwalker knew their limits. Talent in the world of Dreams could be useful, but recklessness could be every bit as disastrous as if one was dealing with the One Power. A smart person—Nykk—would have warned him to turn away. If only her voice could reach him now.

Without waiting for his command his dream-self hurried after the terrified young woman, her face pale with terror as the moving cloud of night was nearly upon her. Valadin did not understand it, but he felt fear for her too. If he could he would have banished the wraith that chased after her despite her being a stranger. There was no call to except for a feeling that he knew her and that she was important to him.

The chase ended finally and the girl’s shrieks echoed through the ever-shifting ambiguity of the Dream. It answered her with cold silence and willed Val to do the same. Strain though he did, his lips were nonexistent, his legs were laden with stones, and mind was shackled by a force that could not be resisted. Only able to bear witness, he stood silently watching and in those final moments met the eyes of the young girl realizing that she had his face. No longer was it a strange young woman he stared it, but it was himself clawing helplessly at the ground as the shadows devoured him. It was the him before he’d become strong…before Nykkolaia…it was the slave boy who stared back at him with gaping eyes, hope flaring for a brief and beautiful instant as if its brightness would harken the intervention of a savior.

That desperate hope. Valadin knew it well. He knew what it was to feel such and have it unanswered.

Becoming strong had shielded Val from that old vulnerability. Most days it was easy to forget that it had ever been a part of him. Now, staring into the pits of his soul as Tel’aran’rhiod cruelly threw it back at him he trembled with the powerlessness that faced him now. Light, he prayed to wake soon.

Soon the embers dwindled in his young face, but it wasn’t quite his face he realized as the slender arm reaching out for aid vanished beneath the blanket of darkness. The scent of decay washed over him in a wave of putrid honey and with a start his eyes snapped open to view the slanted ceiling overhead. Cold invaded his body while beads of sweat moisturized the cloth of the bedspread beneath him. Not daring to move a muscle the lay of his surroundings came in slow increments as the recollection of the evening that brought here drizzled back into memory.

Nykk twitched against him when a slight exhale of relief shook his body. She was a light sleeper as it was.

It was too soon to forget the vividness of the dream. Too much of it had seemed real—had felt like it was real. The lingering order of decay lingered in the air as a gentle reminder and recognition of the feeling told of another gift that Valadin had been granted by the Creator. Why now? he wondered.

Nothing made sense and that was the most worrisome thing about his Dreaming. The meanings were never clear until the foretold moment had passed. Gooseflesh raised along the back of his arms as his face battling against the pull of countless black hands surfaced to the front of his mind. Even the Void only dimmed the sharpness of the image and while his breathing did slow, his mind did not rest again that night.

Daybreak came as a blessed herald of enemies and hardships that he could fathom, but uncertainty still loomed in the back of Val’s thoughts. Would today be the day that what he’d Dreamt would come true?

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