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Isle of Mist Campaign Dream Vision Redux

posted Mar 19, 2014, 3:17 PM by Christopher Ellison
Since I had fun revising and then posting a previous dream vision from my current D&D campaign, I decided to do one from another character's point of view.  Like the vision I posted before, this dream refers to character moments that occurred earlier in the campaign and are pivotal for that character.  Without that context, I'll admit it doesn't fully make sense, but I wanted to post it here as a sample of my approach to fiction writing that I can refer to again later.

Maleos's Dream
The night after the second meeting with Rido.

You snap back to reality with a start.  You've been daydreaming again; Esme's droning lecture fades back to the forefront and you shake yourself and try to catch up.  You realize that Esme is behind you, and you momentarily tense, waiting to be cuffed about the ear for drifting off while she's talking.  When no such punishment is forthcoming, you slowly turn, careful not to make a noise or reveal that you hadn't been paying attention.

You turn slowly on the stool, and the surroundings wash over you.  You're sitting in the familiar confines of Esme's spare, yet warm, cottage.  A cool morning sun shines red through the windows, glinting dully off the well-worn yet meticulously-maintained tools hung with care upon the otherwise-plain walls.  An old woman, short and slightly rotund, kneels arthritically in front of the file, carefully stirring a small pot of some noxious-smelling herbal mix.  Her loam-hued hand peeks out from under a long-sleeved tunic, one of Esme's favorites.  She is still speaking, and you finally begin to concentrate on her words.

"...which is dangerous, as you have discovered.  This is the first lesson you must learn, apprentice, and learn it well.  My miners had a saying you would do well to learn. 'Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.'  I would add to this that there is a difference between hurrying and rushing.  You are rushing, and you have paid for it."  With a start, you realize that you've been holding a handkerchief to your nose.  You glance down and notice that it's soaked with blood.  "You may hurry, child, but do not rush.  You're starting a walk down a road fraught with both wonder and peril.  Take this road slowly at first, and listen to me, child.  Don't go rushing ahead until I've shown you how to watch for the potholes and the rockslides."  With that she looks at you.  Though she's been speaking with Esme's voice, she is clearly not Esme.  She's very short and much more rotund than Esme ever was, and her skin is a dark, rich brown that nearly exactly matches her eyes.  Her face snaps into focus and you recognize her as Reka, the brown-skinned dharven magicker from the meeting earlier that night.  You now also recognize this situation, this memory.

You're re-living a memory of many years ago, something that happened less than a week after you'd signed on to apprentice for Esme.  She'd shown you and your father some tricks during your interview with her, demonstrating her skills and abilities to your father before he agreed to hire her.  You'd watched, fascinated, and vowed to learn these spells.  You'd asked her to repeat one of the spells your second day of working with her, then when she'd turned her back to gather some supplies for you, you began trying to replicate her actions, trying to replicate the spell at a lower level of power.  The next thing you remember was her pulling you off the floor and pressing a cloth to your face.  Thankfully, you'd only passed out momentarily and hit your head, causing a severe nosebleed and even more acute embarrassment.  You'd been disoriented and thought you'd missed her lecture, but apparently some of it had stuck somewhere in your subconscious.  

As realization dawned on you, the script of your memory continued to play out.  Reka/Esme brought you a mug of her foul-smelling pick-me-up and you tried to stand to take it, blacking out for a second time, but thankfully only for a split second.  As the darkness took you again, though, this time it dragged you down back into a dreamless sleep.

In the interests of full disclosure, this is something like a second draft of this dream sequence.  I wrote a pass, then re-wrote it after a short break, and that was what I sent off to the player.  I feel that it's a reasonably decent scene, but I also feel that I should be spending more time editing and revising to really clean this up if I were to treat it as an actual written work rather than the semi-improv that paper-and-dice gaming really is.