Try to wake up.

February 21st, 2014 by Zundra · No Comments · Character development, Events


inthenightmare002

Laikah’s vision shifted and she found herself laying comfortably on her side, a cool breeze amiably sweeping her sweaty, matted hair from her face. She curled her fingers into a fist to test her strength. So far, so good. Gone now was the shrill sound of vine cracking and twisting underfoot, the chittering of creatures borne of cruelty, and the dark and oppressive haze that stung her eyes and mouth. She tilted her head and saw Ohiska, curled in the recovery position and groaning slightly from the discomfort of being jolted awake. She couldn’t tell how long they’d been laying here, but she guessed comfortably that the most they had been gone for was forty eight hours.

She sat up, her breath hitching for a moment. Were they really here? Or was this part of the nightmare, still? She sniffed the air: pine dust, earth, stag excrement. These were the smells of the waking world. She clambered to her feet and went over to assist Ohiska.

‘How are you feeling?’

He rolls over and pulls Jikkul-Kra from his face.

‘Like a great weight has been lifted.’

inthenightmare001

‘We’d best be going. There’s no time to rest on our laurels now’. Ohiska nodded in reply, and pushed himself up weakly to his feet. ‘You’ve cured me.’

‘I made a deal with your shadow. One it could not refuse.’

‘What happened?’

‘Trust me, Ohiska.’

They walked in silence for some time. It gave her ample opportunity to reflect on what she’d seen, creating a mental catalog of the sights and horrors. When they first entered, the nightmare seemed merely an ersatz vision of the material world. The further they delved, the darker the manifestations became.

She recalled their first fight. It was the first of Ohiska’s many nightmares, but not his most fearsome: the former Jin of his tribe, Unu, doubled in size and twice as bloodthirsty, came for the both of them. With quit wit and cunning, they both managed to fell this nightmare, and it plagues Ohiska no longer.

Then they saw the village overrun by Murlocs. They entered battle, but no matter how many Murlocs they dispatched, the numbers grew and grew. This was Ohiska’s second nightmare – he had to learn to let go when things were beyond his control. When they both made the decision to turn away, this nightmare left Ohiska’s mind.

It was after this point that the nightmare no longer goaded Ohiska and Laikah with familiar scenes from their own world, but with its own twisted visions. They stumbled upon massive trees that bore foul fruit, saps that glowed bright white and burned all it touched, and creatures that resembled nothing they had seen before. They dispatched foulness after foulness, even contending with a pair of monsters that had stolen their own shape and mocked them with their own gestures.

Laikah looks up at the Ashenvale canopy. Light leaks in between ancient leaves and resembles stars. It comforted her against the memory of the sinking black soup that they both meandered through for what seemed like hours – interminable, weightless and soundless black molasses that threatened to unravel her mind.

And then?

The shadow itself. Presented without malice or immediate hostility, but certainly with a petulant sense of entitlement.

‘…power is not strength. He must be more than a Priest and he must stop begging for power.’

Ohiska glanced at her, noticing her furrowed brow. ‘Are you alright, sister?’

She nodded. She made a promise to make things better. She didn’t know how, nor if whether a bargain could ever be equitable if made with dark forces, but as she looked at Ohiska’s face to meet him with a reply, she knew very well that she couldn’t just leave him alone in this.

‘Yes. I will be fine.’

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