Nyssa woke with a start. She had the same dream again.
She was walking down a hallway with a single shaft of golden light that was showing her the way to go. There was a bell ringing somewhere in the distance.
She comes to a door and there is a sign on it that says, “Back in 15 minutes.” So she sits and waits, but it seems that she is waiting for eternity. She falls asleep waiting and the next day dawns and she realizes that no one is coming so she rages against the door trying to get through.
This goes on for endless days. Each day as she is trying to break through the door she hears the bell ringing. Eventually she realizes that the sound is slightly different each time and that there is a secret harmony in the tone.
Once she realizes this a fire wells up inside her and erupts from her hands burning down the door.
On the other side there are daffodils with butterflies in an afternoon sunlight field.
Stepping through the door she encounters a strange creature, though the creature changes each time she has the dream. One time it was a gorilla being chased by penguins. The next time it was a lion teaching maths to a lamb. Once it was a blue flamingo who wandered into an igloo and disappeared. Then a jester with a hammer looking through the daffodils for something that he had lost. A man with a teapot on his head walk past her once and asked if she liked her tea hot. One time it started to rain and the rain drops turned to tiny bolts of lightning and she put up an umbrella to protect herself. And so forth.
Then she wakes up.
Elx had been having dreams lately as well. Not the same dream again and again, like Nyssa had had. But a few dreams with a similar theme. Each had had a raven in them.
The first dream was nothing remarkable and at first Elx had thought nothing of it. It wasn’t until he had had the others that the first seemed remarkable.
In the first dream, he had been walking in the snow recently escaped from Blern. Somehow he had gotten separated from the rest of his companions, but he didn’t think that they were too far away. Looking up he saw a raven sitting in a tree branch and below the bird was a cast off feather. Elx picked up the feather and put in a pouch at his side. He then rejoined his companions and couldn’t remember the rest of the dream.
In the second dream, Elx was back in Raven’s Keep and he was shaving which was strange as he didn’t need to do so. But perhaps he was doing so as part of a persona he was maintaining. In any case, he took the hair clippings and put them in a bag at his side. He did the same with his nail clippings. Then he in the center of the community and he noticed that there was a heart-shaped rock in the center of the community park. Touching it a piece of it fell off and he picked it up and placed it in the pouch at his side.
He looked up as he heard a cawing noise and saw a large black bird, again a raven. Swearing, he wiped the poop from his shoulder where the bird had defecated on him. But he decided to put it in the bag. When he did so, he turned into a raven himself and followed after the other raven and flew into a forest. In the forest there was a dead creature, the raven picked at the bones and skin holding them out. Elx put the bones and skin into the bag. Then he used the bag as a pillow and went to sleep. In the sleep within the sleep he noticed that he had a cone-shaped body, four strange appendages two of which end in claws, one with a trumpet and one with three eyes and four ears. His cone-shaped self was talking to his normal self saying, “The world is thinner in some places. Nafluh’e n’ghft ‘bthnk. So say we all.”
In the third dream, Elx was in a library studying and he heard a rapping at a window. Going to investigate he found a raven at the sill. The raven hopped over to a small book and pecked at it. Elx picked it up and placed it in the bag at his side. Looking at the bird again, Elx was surprised to see it smoking a pipe. The bird indicated that Elx should join him. Elx took a puff of the pipe and coughed. The bird laughed and flew away. Elx put the pipe into his bag.