Monday March 6th, 2017

The exercise:

All right. The Dream Kingdom, part three. Let's do it.


"That's very impressive work," Nystor said as he gazed around the audience chamber, the smoke rising from the pipe clenched between his teeth obscuring his features. "Though, perhaps, a tad too impressive. Allow me, if you'd be so kind?"

Before Dylan could say anything Nystor clapped his hands and all but two dozen of the candles winked out of existence. There was still plenty of light to see by, with the added bonus that the heat in the room dropped to a far more comfortable level.

"Why do you continue to hide yourself from me?" Dylan demanded, though he was more annoyed that his handiwork had been altered without his permission than he was bothered by his companion's concealment. The changes were clearly for the better - he really had gone a bit overboard with the candles - but he was refusing to admit that to himself. "Show your face."

Without giving it proper thought, Dylan blew air through his lips in Nystor's direction. It wasn't hard - barely enough to blow out a birthday candle from a few inches away - but it was enough to push the pipe smoke aside, even though the man was at least twenty feet away.

The first thought that occurred to Dylan was that Nystor looked like a fit grandfather. He was clearly old - the deep wrinkles in his face and the long, silver and gray hair that fell to his shoulders left little doubt of that - but he also had an air of vitality about him. He stood tall and straight, his shoulders were heavily muscled, his hands were strong and nimble, and there was an undeniable spark in his eyes.

He was dressed simply, in a full length robe with the hood down and black leather sandals on his sockless feet. It was the robe that grabbed Dylan's attention, as its vivid red reminded him powerfully of the flowers at his father's funeral. Was that the work of his subconscious or was that the robe's true colour?

But before he could voice his question, he was distracted by the sudden arrival of Josh and Olivia.


Greg said...

Josh and Olivia's sudden arrival make me feel a little railroaded :-P This is superb, from the description of Nystor to the careful details about the smoke, the sandals and the need to reduce the number of candles. Morganna's description from last month made me see the glory of the chamber the way Dylan did, and now you've enhanced it and given it depth (I would say "and warmth" but I think it was all those candles that did that!).

Olivia sprawled on the floor with the grace of a sick swan and Dylan wondered if the over-sized t-shirt and grey sweatpants she was wearing were her nightwear. She was no sooner sprawled than she was pulling herself to her feet and cursing a blue streak -- both her parents were in the army and she'd picked up some things from them that they slightly regretted -- and staring around her. She looked at Dylan, looked him up and down cursorily, and then her gaze focused on Nystor.
"You!" Her finger jabbed out accusingly. "You were in my dream. You carjacked me!"
Nystor raised a benign hand and smiled, but she wasn't being placated so easily.
"I do not appreciate being dragged from a Mercedes 300SL Gullwing! Do you know how much that car costs? Do you even understand how many nights I've spent working on lucid dreaming so I could get into that car? Do you?"
Nystor frowned. "I have no idea what a gullible Mercedes is," he said. "Was it that boxy silver car? It looked very poorly designed if you as–"
"No-one did! It was built in 1954! Of course it looks different to what cars look like now. The aesthetic has all changed, and not for the better. And you carjacked me!"
Nystor shrugged, the red robe moving only enough to show the movement; it looked heavy. "I was sent to find you," he said.
"Oh no you don't!" Dylan stepped forward now and Olivia looked at him again. Once again her gaze swept him up and down. "You went off to kidnap them all by yourself. You just got their names from me and then you vanished and left me alone here." Olivia's gaze swept again. "Why do you keep looking at me like that?"
"Why are you wearing only boxer shorts?"
There was a long moment of silence in which Dylan could only think how grateful he was he didn't sleep naked.
"This is what I wear to bed," he said at last. "I guess you...?"
Olivia looked down at herself. "Oh crap," she said. "Well, could be worse, could be the Black Sabbath t-shirt I suppose. Got a wardrobe here?"
"This guy," Dylan indicated Nystor, "reckons that all you do is imagine what you want and it appears. And... it kind of works." He looked down at his feet. When he looked up Olivia was dressed in army fatigues, her hair looked as though it had been washed and freshly styled, and her face looked more made-up somehow. "Wow!"
"So you're making some kind of statement dressing like that?"
"No! How did you do that so fast anyway?" Dylan concentrated, thinking about the candles and how he'd made them happen.
"Pink ballet tutu!" yelled Olivia.
She burst into laughter and Dylan realised that he was now wearing a pink ballet tutu, his concentration twisted at just the wrong moment. He muttered "Damn" under his breath, feeling embarrassed doing it, and tried again. This time he got jeans and a Black Sabbath t-shirt and decided to stick with it.
"I've been lucid-dreaming for six months," she said. "It's easy when you get the hang of it."

morganna said...

"Ahem." Another voice spoke out of the shadows. Dylan whipped his head around and relaxed when he saw Josh's slim silhouette. "Would someone please tell me what is going on here?" He stepped slightly forward and Dylan could see that he was wearing his favorite pinstriped suit, complete with real silk tie and pocket square. Josh was a bit of a dandy, and this was a bit much.

Nystor grinned. "Ah, at last. Someone who is ready to ask questions, not yell at me when they find themselves here."

"Oh, don't worry, old man, I may yell at you yet," said Josh calmly. "Especially if you don't tell me what is going on here."

Dylan jumped in. "He kidnapped me, and he stole your names from my mind, and he says we have to rescue his king, or else."

"While that is very informative, Dylan, I rather think there is more to it than that. Spill the truth, old man." Josh's eyes were harder than Dylan had ever seen them, and he swallowed hard.

Olivia advanced on Nystor. "Yeah, tell us what's really going on here."

Marc said...

Greg - didn't mean to railroad, just wanted to get things moving before we got too far into the year and had to catch up or rush to get to the finish by December.

At any rate, this is a great continuation from where I left off. The attire of our two heroes is dealt with pretty much as I hoped it would be, and Nystor's participation in the conversation is just enough to be entertaining without distracting from the main point of the scene.

Morganna - ah, you've managed to add to this just in time before April's entry! Excellent :)

And thank you for bringing Josh into things! That saves me some work for the next entry. And I quite like his suit, though I do think we'll have to get everyone on the same page, wardrobe wise, before they set off on their adventuring.

Assuming things get that far.

Anyway, off to figure out what comes next!