3rd of Vhalar, 719
Hal awoke with a start, breath heavy and wound tight in his chest. Cold sweat clung to his face, and his eyes darted wildly across his bedroom. His breath steamed as it poured out of his mouth, oxygen tearing through his lungs at a frenzied pace. His hands gripped tight to the light linen sheets which wrapped around his body, and in the dull light of his underground room cold eyes seemed to rake over his form. Brilliant blue they shone, slitted in the middle like a predator whose interest had been piqued. They circled each other around the wall, slithering closer and closer to the Ellune trapped on the bed. One pounced from the wall, racing towards Hal with its hungry stare. His heart seized, his breath grew still, and chill that could cool even his frozen blood seeped through his veins.
The vision was gone, and he was left alone with nothing but shadows which danced in candlelight and the confused torrent of his thoughts.
Halar let out of choked gasp as cold air rushed over his tongue, his unconscious command forcing his body to regulate itself again. His hands, bone-white with tension, shook violently even as his nails carved into the grey-blue flesh of his wrists. He could feel his shoulders rise with anxiety, the muscles of his back winding and knotting themselves as the terror of his waking dream lingered in his mind.
This time it was his father's voice that guided him. Suddenly Hal was a child again, back when the night terrors had been new and strange to him. Tears, both then and now, stung his eyes, so filled with fright that he could barely contain his ragged sobbing. In his memory he could feel his father's hand on his back, tracing small and soothing circles in an effort to unwind his panic-stricken mine.
He ordered, and his body obeyed. He was no longer a child, screaming for his father in the night, and the dark dreams that haunted him were no longer so foreign. Hal had spent years with them, building safeguards in his psyche to wall the terrors out. With every breath, he forged a new piece of armor to protect himself. On and on again until he was wrapped in plate built to be a bastion against the monsters of his mind. He focused on shaping every inlay, carving every crevasse of that glacial guard. Vambraces to keep his wrist clear of scars. Boots to ground him, to grant him stability of self. A breastplate, to shield his heart against the horrors of his own thoughts. A helmet, so that his gaze may be guarded against the eyes of that endless abyss.
Slowly, the freezing grip fear began to leave his body. His eyes cleared of tears, his back unwound of anxiety, and his hands clasped together instead of tearing wounds into his wrists. With a shaking smile, Halar opened his eyes. He was alone in the room.
It had just been a dream. Just a horrible, waking dream.