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Fermius Firefly

A Dream Log, whenever I remember the dreams I've had.

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Location: San Marcos, United States

Fermius is a pen name drawn from a series of short fiction I wrote when I published the small press magazine Stellanova (on paper.) I play RPG games to escape from my daily grind as a technology wage slave for the state of California. I eat out a lot in order to do my part in supporting our increasingly service level economy. I am butler to 2 feline masters. If you ask them they will tell you I'm not very good at it, late with dinner, don't have enough hands with brushes in them, and sometimes I even lock them out of their office.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Scribe

In my dream I was traveling with a pair of companions, a tall muscular, armor clad man, a holy warrior, and a nimble leather clad woman of ethereal beauty, dark and narrow-waisted with shimmering golden eyes and slender pointed ears. As for myself, I was clad only in a robe and sandals, a satchel of writing materials on one shoulder and a battered sword over the other. We'd a fourth member, but there was an incident in the woods surrounding the ruins we now found ourselves standing in front of. That member camped just out of sight above a nearby fountain, hoping to heal while we made our way inside. Personally, I was of the opinion that his wounds were likely to be mortal, but had made him as comfortable as possible.

We entered the ruins, intent of reclaiming the paladin's birthright. I unrolled a map as we stepped out of the collapsed gatehouse into the great courtyard. He stood in the center of the yard, then reached out to touch a large sphere of stone. He was bathed in a golden light and the grime of our passage through the dangerous lands was blasted away, along with the straps of his helmet and shield. We were knocked back and there were tones and angelic voices from the air around us. The Paladin jumped with renewed energy, and raced back over the ruins of the gatehouse, and even without asking I knew he was going to use the energy of his new found aura to heal our companion.

I unrolled the map, and we began to discuss where we should go next, and how we should attempt to acquire the items our companion would need to complete his quest to liberate his home from its cursed state. While we pondered, a ragged trio, one of them quite badly lacerated, hastened from the western passage. Their warrior reached the stone and placed his hands on it. Nothing happened.

"Only once, that's what the riddle meant, you can only heal one." The warrior collapsed, breath coming in ragged gasps, I could not tell if he was exhausted or sobbing.

I was about to ask "what riddle?" when their group's bowman turned to me and handed me a battered journal. "I wouldn't risk my soul for this, but if you must, perhaps this will help you more than it did us."

I reached over and touched the sphere. I was infused with a golden glow. My female companion joined me.

I turned to the injured companion of the trio that were getting to their feet. I touched him and there was a flash, I relived the excruciating fight, really more of a slaughter, watching from a helpless vantage as the man swung at a beautiful woman, who was saved by a spectral man with black hair and blacker eyes. The spectre's talons lashed out and gutted first one and then myself, or rather the man I was holding.

His wounds closed, and the vision faded.

"Why did you do that!"

"He would have died."

"But now you can't save one of us!" I though for a moment that the elf was going to strike me.

"It was the right thing to do, Elba. He will just have to be more careful than usual" and with that our Paladin broke into a mighty roaring laugh. Apparently his comment was a joke at my expense, as I was so careful normally that I had only once drawn the sword he'd provided me. Having thought our way around all of our previous obstacles.

"Well, I'm not using mine on him, then."

The Paladin and our other companion both touched the sphere. Both were infused with a bright glow. I asked the other group to try the stone again, but there was no glow for them. I tried it, and there was no glow for me.

I opened up the battered journal, looking for the notes about the stone. There was a verse, and while it wasn't entirely clear, take in conjunction with what I'd seen, it seemed it would only allow one to heal once, and then the blessing would never be bestowed again, unless you were a scion of the house. I looked at our Paladin in a new light, it seems he was the real deal, after all.

The other group seemed to feel it, too, and quickly excused themselves. I swear the Paladins armor was now so clean it gleamed brighter than the fading sunlight. We agreed to split up to go east and west. The eastern task was supposed to require a test of physical prowess, and the new information I had seemed to back that up. There were notes that indicated that the previous group had succeeded there and brought their token back to the stone. I noticed that the token wasn't there now, however.

The Paladin slammed his mace down on the stone pommel first, a habit he'd gotten into to seat the head, which had started to come loose. I winced, thinking that wasn't probably the way one should treat a major magical artifact. There wasn't even a blemish on the stone, however. "No time like the present. I'll come help you when I'm done here. Be careful." He laughed again, knowing full well that I wouldn't behave any other way.

We split up. I looked to the northern passage before we headed west, it was identical to part of the path we'd entered several miles back in the woods. I pointed that out to everyone, but the Paladin insisted that we "not think on it until we return successful."

"Did he always talk like that?" the elf asked me as we made our way through the ruins of what had to be some sort of chapel.

"No, only the closer we've gotten to here."

We came upon the woman from my vision. She was tall, taller than myself by at least a foot. Her hair was silver, and the outfit she was wearing was beaded in what looked to be pure silver beads. She turned to us.

"I can take her," Elba reached for her weapon. I stopped her with a quick hand on her arm.

"Wait, this is not supposed to be a test of physical prowess."

"Perhaps, depends on how it's played." The woman whispered. "What if I am the lock that guards your precious treasure and you are the key." The woman had turned and bent down slightly to bring her face close to mine. There was the scent of flowers, and femininity, and blood, old and clotted.

"If I am the key and you are the lock..." I thought, was this a demonstration needed, or the answering of a riddle? I decided it was an answering that was needed, at least for now. "Would this lock be tight from lack of opening?"

"Excellent." The woman smiled, "But you have already lost your enchantment, so you must be careful in the opening."

I lifted myself up on tip toe to bring us eye level again. "If I am your key than I fear I am equally unused, perhaps what we both need is some lubrication."

I stepped back, I could see her do likewise preparing herself for violence. Instead I opened my satchel and took out a bottle, gently working it's cork with my thumb. "I fear, dear lady, that I have no cups to offer you, but this is the last of a fine vintage, and I would share it with you."

She hesitated and moved forward, suddenly with two silver chased wine glasses in her hands. I poured. We sipped. I toasted her and her stalwart performance in protecting her precious treasure, I toasted our liege, and that got her attention. I explained that our companion was a descendant of this castle's great kings returned to restore the place of his birth and reclaim his birthright.

The conversation went on, and Elba began to grow bored, she slipped deeper into the chapel, only to be escorted back by the talon equipped specter from my vision. While she was gone I had managed to move closer to the tall woman, who had invited me to sit with her on a rock to continue our lock and key wordplay, the conversation had grown quite full of double and triple entendre. The smell of blood had long retreated and only her flowery femininity remained.

Her final question, and I could feel that it was the last question was what would be "done with the lock once it was opened?"

I thought only a moment, "A good lock is too valuable to leave unused, and it usefulness is not gone once opened, a key that has no lock to open is useless, I would think that my liege would want to put such a precious lock to use and keep it and its key close."

"Indeed he would!" the Paladin entered our little area, setting aside his mace and shield. He lit the room, and his golden light glittered off the woman's silver beads.

"I see," the woman leaned over and kissed me, deeply. After a rather surprised moment, I returned the kiss, and while so doing heard the sliding of the chapel alter. I opened my eyes and looked over to the noise. The specter led Elba by a nervous hand over the the darkened chamber below. She reached in and pulled out a reliquary. The wood had grown soft in some places but it was otherwise sound.

The Paladin set a small totem on top of the reliquary and the woman asked why he hadn't placed it on the sphere.

"I thought we should all be present for that."

"You are quite confident in your companions."

"Do you think it was misplaced?"

The woman looked at me, unsure.

I stretched myself up on tiptoe, still, my mouth was a few inches short of her ear. "Come with us, you and your brother. You deserve to be part of this."

"So, you are still thinking of a different opening."

"If you are a lock and I am your key, it would seem a shame to only be fit together once."

When we returned to the courtyard, the north passage was no longer a duplicate of the entry to the woods. I could clearly see the castle proper at the end of a long span of bridges, partly fallen, and alive with creatures of some sort. I could tell it was going to be a challenge still to get to the bridge. I started looking up into the ruins for alternatives to a long sword fight all the way to the castle gate.

The Paladin laughed at me, knowing what I was doing. "Not this time, scrivener. Sometimes evil needs to be confronted directly. We have this!" He tried to clap the specter on the shoulder, but his hand passed through.

"Only his claws are solid, my Liege." Elba said, the "my Liege" part only sounding a little bit forced.

"I knew that. Let's go." He slammed the pommel of his mace against the stone, seating the sometimes loose mace-head a little more firmly. I was thinking I could fix that with a few minutes at a smithy, but then realized our Liege wouldn't have a need for what I had come to think of as one of his signature habits. He even paused in battle to re-seat the mace head, usually on the thick skull of an opponent. No, the royal mace would remain un-repaired, a character in its own right.

We started for the bridge, as creatures were already massing and hopping or sliding towards us. It would be good strategy to meet them on the narrow part of the first bridge, and hope they didn't have bows. I would have explained that, but the specter and Paladin were charging into battle, and I could see that the forces would meet right where I would have chosen, so felt it was going to be okay. As I walked towards the battle, I felt a tugging at my sword, but it wouldn't come free of the sheath, come to think of it, it hadn't last time, either, and I'd had to use it like a club. The woman grimaced at me, "It's rusted shut."

"Yes, we're probably safer that way." I rummaged around in my satchel and pulled out a sling, I started to select rocks and handed them to the woman as we moved to the side of the where I would have a clear throw at the creatures on the spans further along the path.





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