Sunday February 5th, 2017

The exercise:

It's the first weekend in February. I think that's a fine time to get back to The Dream Kingdom.

Max continues his gradual improvement. Miles continues his steady decline. Tomorrow could be his day to see the doctor if this continues.

So of course it's currently dumping snow outside right now.


Edit: and apparently I'm exhausted enough to fall asleep mid-post. Sorry about that. And just to save you waiting for any updates: we took Miles to the doctor and it's nothing too serious. Just gotta ride it out. Which is always fun.


"Allow me to answer your final question first," Nystor said. His words came from Dylan's right and were accompanied by the sound of something wooden slapping against flesh, softly but repeatedly. "For it is by far the easiest: you will know King Brekstan when you find him because I shall be there with you to point him out."

"You're coming with me?" Dylan asked, feeling both relieved and annoyed by this revelation.

"Of course! Your group will need both a trainer and a guide as you make your way through the Dream Kingdom." There was a pause as Nystor sounded like he was striking a match, somewhere to Dylan's left this time. "I think you will find me both pleasant and useful company."

"We'll see about that," Dylan muttered. "Wait, my group? I never said I'd agreed to you doing more kidnapping or whatever it is you did to get me here."

"I did not kidnap you, child. I was sent to fetch you." Nystor almost sounded as though he was floating above Dylan's head.

Dylan looked up but continued to see nothing but unending darkness. He was getting very tired of not being able to see anything. He very nearly stamped his feet in frustration, but then decided he didn't fully trust the... whatever it was he was standing on.

"Well then, who sent you for me? And why me?!"

"That is very delicate and... large information," Nystor said, a hint of laughter in his voice. Which seemed to be coming from below Dylan now. There was also a rich smokiness rising from there, with hints of unknown herbs and flowers mixed in. "Information of such magnitude requires a trade. So: you give me two names of those you wish to accompany us on our adventure through the Dream Kingdom, and I will tell you what you wish to know."

"No way!" Dylan shouted at the darkness between his feet. Besides, he thought, Josh and Olivia would murder me if I dragged them into this nonsense.

"Josh and Olivia - two excellent choices I'm sure!" Nystor sounded far too pleased. "I shall return with them in a few moments."

"What? Hold on! How did y-"

"Oh, and if you could do something about this darkness while I'm gone I would very much appreciate it. I would love to be able to show you and your friends around my home at some point."

And with the sound of hands clapping together and a soft pop Dylan felt Nystor's presence leave him.


Greg said...

I'm a little rushed this morning, so if I end this abruptly it's because I ran out of time (and had to run off elsewhere). I hope Miles is better soon, and glad that the snow didn't stop you getting to the doctor!
Hmm, well Nestor's got his band of heroes then, but his determination to get them is a little worrying. I suppose we'll find out what's motivating him as we go, but currently I'm as suspicious as Dylan about him! The sense-drawings you've got of the place, even in the darkness, are quite impressive and I can easily picture myself there, but now it looks as though we have to understand where "there" is... that might be a task!

At first Dylan felt quite relieved: with Nestor gone at last he stopped feeling like he was being watched and laughed at, and could start to look around him. After thirty seconds or so he started to feel alarmed again. The darkness was absolute: there was nothing but black in any direction, but when he could see himself quite easily, and when he'd imagined the gun (he was sure he'd made a gun, even if it hadn't quite worked properly) he'd been able to see that. But nothing else.
He shuffled his feet, and he was definitely standing on something. The smokiness from earlier reasserted itself, and he wondered if he was standing on something that made that smell. It was a wonderful, rich smell that seemed to drift around him, here stronger and there weaker, and it was slightly reassuring when everything was dark. Then he started to wonder if he was standing on a barbecue or something similar and began to worry again. A trickle of sweat ran down the back of his neck.
"Do something about the light," Nestor had said, but what could he do. He thought about imagining the sun, but then Nestor had said that he'd need to know how the sun worked, and he knew it wasn't just a ball of light hanging in the sky, but he really didn't know what happened to make it be there. What if he got it wrong? It might burn up everything!
OK, so could he do it the other way round? Imagine that there was no darkness? He considered this -- maybe if he just thought really, really hard that it wasn't dark the darkness would go away? That seemed easy. He started thinking it, and then -- again! -- a thought crept into the back of his mind. He only knew the darkness here, what if taking it away took everything else away with it? Nothing would have changed, just it wouldn't be darkness around him, it would be... nothingness. That sounded worse, so he stopped trying to unimagine the dark.
What did he know that made light? Really know? There were torches, electric light bulbs, fireflies, glow-sticks, the torch button on his iPhone... which one would work?
Then he smiled; he knew what he would work.
When Nestor reappeared he was quite surprised to find that the world around them was lit by hundreds and thousands of thick, white church candles, each perched on any available flat surface, and Dylan was staring around him with a look of rapture on his face.

Marc said...

Greg - thanks for finding time to write this :)

I really enjoyed the emotional roller coaster in the opening paragraph, it feels very genuine. And the image of the over abundance of candles lighting the house is fantastic. I look forward to finding out what they're illuminating :)

morganna said...

They were in the cavernous audience chamber of King Brekstan's palace. The vaulted ceiling soared high above them, gold ornaments dangling from the highest points. The warm light glimmered on the gold, shone on the rich tapestries lining the walls, and glowed from the soft carpets underfoot. Nestor looked about him in awe. He had never seen the audience chamber look so warm and welcoming.

Marc said...

Morganna - that's a lovely description, I'm glad you found time to add to this month's entry before we move on to March :)