34 Vhalar 713
When his feet touched down, the young mage found himself standing in the middle of a long stone bridge. The bridge stretched over a vast and violently churning ocean of blue, red, purple, and emerald water. The red water flowed thicker than the blue and the purple thicker than the red though the emerald water seemed to pass through the other water in it's own churning patter unaffected physically by those waters around it. He found himself moving to the side of the bridge and looking over the ledge at the churning maelstrom of an ocean beneath him. The cascading colors threatened to hypnotize Balthazar and hold him in place forever but he pulled himself from them and moved along the cobblestone bridge. He saw a massive earthen dome sitting at one end of the bridge and to the other end there was only darkness. He could walk the path of darkness forever and he'd never find anything more than another length of bridge.
As he grew closer to it, the great stone wall protecting the castle seemed to grow larger and wider as the true size of the building became more apparent. The wall seemed to stretch up and curve like a dome encasing the castle and when Balthazar arrived where the bridge met the encompassing dome, there was no doorway to pass through. Balthazar pressed a cold hand to the dome and the stone began to ripple as if it were water and Balthazar had splashed his hand across the surface. With each ripple the stone became more transparent and clear until the entirety of the stone seemed to become glass revealing the grand castle inside. Balthazar pressed his other hand to the glass and pushed against it but it did not give way. He pushed again and still nothing.
The young mage took a step back from the globe encasing his castle and would have thought for a moment if the answer did not become so apparent to him. He stepped forward again, drew his elbow back, and then slammed his fist into the glass dome. A long crack formed which stretched up along the middle of the dome and from that crack various others began to branch off like the roots of a tree digging deeper into the earth until suddenly the dome shattered and the glass rained down on Balthazar and his castle- only it wasn't glass, it had turned to snow upon the shattering and a soft layer of white covered the castle grounds.
Suddenly a cold hand touched the nape of his neck and a shiver spread through Balthazar's whole body. Everything seemed to snap into focus for him instantly. This was all a dream.
"And now you are lucid. Figured I should wait until you found something cool to wake you." Morgan's voice chimed from behind the newly awoken Balthazar. She'd entered his dreamscape lucid and woken him for the singular purpose of awakening his ability to walk through dreams. Morgan saw dreamscapes as places the two of them could converse free of Xanax and any spies he had out but she'd never let Balthazar in on that. She'd proposed it to him as an avenue of exploring the mystic and the illusive Emea. The young and foolish Balthazar didn't suspect a thing.
"Lucid? What's that mean?" Balthazar asked, pulling himself away from the hypnotic ocean below the bridge and giving his attention to Morgan. He remembered the agreement they'd made now. He'd go to sleep and she would venture into his dreamscape to wake him. He'd never been in his dreamscape before- well he had but he never remembered it the way he'd remember it once he woke from this lucid dream.
"It means you're in control, and you'll remember a little more of your dreams. Now your dreams can hurt you but the damage varies. When you're lucid you should be more cautious. Don't use magic, either." Morgan explained and Balthazar nodded along in agreement. He didn't say anything or ask other questions because he understood most of what she'd told him. They'd discussed it in the waking world at some length before this but the practice was far from the theory. "Come on, let's go see what you've got around here." Morgan said before setting off towards the castle. Balthazar's eyes fell back to the multicolored ocean spinning behind them for a moment before he jogged through the gatehouse to catch up with Morgan.
The duo would find many wonders on the castle grounds but they'd find themselves mysteriously barred from entering the castle itself. When they approached and peeled open the doors to the great hall they found nothing more than a cobblestone wall in it's place- preventing either of them from moving further. Balthazar reckoned he could use his magic to move the wall but Morgan dissuaded him on the risk. It was not worth an emean encounter when there was plenty of castle grounds withing the massive walls to explore. Admittedly the great hall was the only way to access the majority of Balthazar's dreamscape and the many rooms within it such as the undercroft, dungeon, chapel to the immortals, solar, and lord's rooms- each with their own twist, but Morgan had no idea. She was more than content to traverse the bailey and the vast garden of flowers from all over Idalos behind the castle. Some of the flowers in certain regions became blurry as you looked at them because Balthazar had never seen them and did not know how they truly looked- but there was still something planted in their spot.
From the top down, the dreamscape would not appear as grand as it did from the floor but that was because the true miracles rested within the great hall. It was much bigger on the inside but Balthazar would not know that for arcs to come. Balthazar found himself watching Morgan walk around the garden in a white dress that clued him in on the fact he was dreaming. She'd never have worn white in the waking world. It wasn't so much that she didn't like the color as she didn't like how easy it was to get dirty while wearing it. Balthazar understood that.
"This is amazing, don't misunderstand me, but what is there to gain from remembering my dreams? As mages, we're more likely to be hurt here than in Emea." Balthazar finally posed the question that had been scratching at the back of his mind ever since he first entered and was mystified by his dreamscape.
"That's not true." Morgan replied softly as she crouched down, her white dress almost seeming to melt into the snow covered garden floor as she picked a white rose from the garden. As she stood and turned to Balthazar, the rose in Morgan's hand began to bleed red where her fingers touched it. "We may not be able to practice our magic here but there are many mundane skills that you can refine here. Since you'll remember the dream you'll retain some of the skill you practice."
"I still don't see why I couldn't just train while awake?" Balthazar asked with a glance around the garden. It looked beautiful but what was a beautiful garden when you meant to practice combat or defiance? Flammable?
"Hm... could you tell me how long you've been here? How many others we've seen?" Morgan posed to questions that silenced Balthazar. He thought hard but couldn't form a concrete answer so Morgan answered for him "Time does not flow as rigidly here and there are fewer interruptions You're dreams give you a privacy that you just can't find in Idalos." Morgan said as she sauntered over to Balthazar and held the red rose out to him.
He took it in his hand and the red began to darken into black but Balthazar did not notice. His attention had been stolen by Morgan who took a step closer to him than she would have if they'd both been awake and she did something she would never have done while Xanax could be spying on them. She wrapped her arms around Balthazar and pressed her lips to his. He wrapped his arms around her and allowed the dark rose to fall from his hand for what followed.