:: Dungeons & Dragons - The Threshold Party - Adrift on an Ocean of Dreams... ::

Adrift on an Ocean of Dreams

Written by Alastair

The Sapphire Spirit shot over the waves, plowing its course ever northward towards Helskir. Within the bowels of the ship, Karnus Perdissium picked his way through the hold, heading aft towards the small room in which the castaway lay resting. Grim determination showed upon his face – this man had brought with him a mystery, and Karnus was determined to get to the bottom of it.

Opening the door to the cabin, the wizard sighted Hosni Bin Amin perched upon the edge of his bunk. "Greetings once again, my friend," he began, "are you feeling better this morning?"

Hosni looked up at Karnus and responded, "I am well, praise be to the Immortal Ones but I fear for those I have promised to help."

As Karnus settled himself into a nearby chair, as Hosni repeated his pleas for assistance for his undersea acquaintances. When he had heard enough of the fanciful story, Karnus held up a hand to silence the frantic Alasiyan. "Hosni – listen carefully," he began in a slow, comforting tone, "Captain Condric Arcan and his crew are experienced seamen. They and my companions are currently considering the plight of your erstwhile hosts while they scout the area for anything that would interfere with our rendering assistance. The captain and his aides are competent military planners and experienced adventurers, and it is only right that we should place our trust in their judgment before matters progress."

As Karnus enunciated his words in reassuring tones, the fisherman's eyes became fixed on the head of the staff of Hutaaka and slowly glazed over. Karnus, noticing this, allowed a satisfied smile to creep across his face.

In a monotonous voice, Karnus continued, "Listen to the sound of my voice, Hosni Bin-Amin. Close your eyes, and cast your mind back… back over the recent past. Tell me again what has happened to you."

Hosni repeated the tale of his visit to the undersea realm, but this time in a slow, dreamy monotone.

When he had finished, Karnus replied "Thank you, Hosni. Now I want you to sink even deeper into your relaxed state, and as you do, take those memories and experiences that you have described to me, and let them wash away, as if the sea were eroding them before your eyes..."

Hosni's face began to express some discomfort, but he offered no resistance.

"There are other memories, aren't there Hosni? I want you to concentrate on the other memories you have. Focus on one stream of thought, and tell me what it is saying..."

Hosni once again started to speak in a slow, deliberate voice, saying "after the Dendan destroy my boat I drift for days. I slipped in and out of sleep. I knew I was becoming with fever. I have dreams when I sleep and when I was awake. Then I have another dream. So real. More real than any dream I ever have. I dream of the Kingdom of the people beneath the sea, as told in the Nahmeh. It so beautiful. I want to stay but they say I must leave to find the three sorcerers who will save their kingdom. I awaked and knew it was only a dream but after more days and nights the dream seemed more real than my waking time. I prayed to the Immortal Ones to spare me so that I might return to my family. In another dream I heard a voice telling me I would be saved and that I must tell my tale of the sea people for it is the truth and my fever had lead me to doubt my own senses."

"Very good – and the other voice – what is it saying?"

As Hosni replied, his monotone faltered and more emotion crept into his voice. "I don't know. I must be mad. No dream could be so real but I know it was a dream. I know the voice was real but it said the dream was real. It must have been a message from the Immortal Guardians but it cannot be for they do not lie? Do they? I must not question, for the Eternal Truth teaches man must have Faith and Trust in the Immortal Guardians. They do not lie. Why would they lie? WHY WOULD THE IMMORTALS LIE???"

Now in the grip of hysterics, Hosni's final screamed question hung in the air and mingled with the creaking of the ship. An odd shiver of forboding ran down Karnus' spine.

Calming his subject down, Karnus turned to see the cabin door open. Jud Effervatch and some other crew members had clearly been drawn to investigate by the scream, but with a gesture Karnus managed to convey that he was handling the situation, and a piercing glance made it clear that the newcomers should not interfere. The crewmembers shrugged and left the cabin, but Jud remained behind. As he stood back and allowed Karnus to continue, the wizard could feel the cleric's silent, stony gaze upon his back as he turned to finish his work.

"Hosni – look at me!" said Karnus in a stern, commanding, yet calm voice. "The Dendan left you half dead upon the water, and as your body drifted, so did your mind, to the far plains of the dreaming. There you saw many things and heard many voices; some seemed more real than others."

"But dreams and voices – all must fade in the waking world. Let the dream go, Hosni. Let it fade, and with it fades the voices, and the lies, and your pain, and your confusion."

"Forget the dream, and let the dreamer awaken!"

As Karnus finished speaking he laid his hand upon Hosni's shoulder, and gently shook him out of his trance. Momentarily confused, the castaway looked from Karnus to Jud, blinking, before saying, "I had nightmare but it fades. Were you speaking? I am rude not to have heard you."

Karnus reassured Hosni that he was only checking on his wellbeing. With no further references to his implausible adventure under the sea, he began to ask how long it would be before he returned to his family. Karnus reassured him that he would raise the matter with Captain Arcan immediately.

As Karnus stood up and turned to leave, he smiled in a confident manner. His eyes met those of his clerical observer as he passed him. The cleric looked impassively at the wizard, his expression impossible to read...

Read the remaining account of crossing the Sea of Dawn here

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