Pillars of Dreams

Llyr please

This is where the majority of dreaming threads will take place.

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Re: Pillars of Dreams

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You... prefer to have clarity within your dreams?

It was a strange way to think of it, and even with Brent’s experience thus far, he still considered himself to have a very limited understanding of it all. Yet despite what he thought, the answer to the question was obvious and without doubt. He nodded in affirmation.

To explore new realms of possibility, to dream of spectacular places, and to remember and be aware… How could he not want the clarity of dreams that Mister Magpie offered?

As the winged man began to walk through the grand cathedral, Brent followed a few paces behind. Every other step of the dreamer was lopsided and uneven, but Brent carried on his loping gait without noting it. It was strange to think that Malach had shared as much as she did with him, yet had not decided to open his eyes more fully like Mister Magpie had. Was she afraid? She had mentioned dangers in this realm of being, yet he only recalled a vague sense of caution without any real details. Did she mean to keep it from him? Or was it that he had just never asked?

“To build and create… and transform.” Brent murmured in response. “She never really told me how she crossed. Nor that there was more to this… this talent.” Ambition and desire burned in his eyes as he looked around the cathedral again. But unlike with Malach, the desire was not physical. It was the will to seek greater heights than ever before, to discover new secrets that only the spirits knew.

“To see with clarity, to create… Yes, this interests me.” Brent replied in earnest. “What must I do?”

His thoughts were wild with possibilities even with the lurking sense of danger Malach had warned him about. Without boundaries, he didn’t know what might or might not be possible, yet it was exciting regardless. A light airy mist flowed through the cathedral, much like the mist of a waterfall, and the light reflected in a thousand different colours around the tall pillars of stone. Opportunity, possibility, and Mister Magpie held the key.

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Re: Pillars of Dreams

The dreamer nodded in affirmation to the thought of having clarity within Emea. Llyr surveyed the cathedral again. He did have a soft spot for such structures… it had been partly what had drawn him to Sybil, and the cathedral of flesh he’d first encountered within the Videnese student’s mind. Unfortunately, that particular initiate hadn’t continued such intriguing proclivities and seemed content to languish in dreams of luxury and comfort. Llyr allowed Sybil such unambitious musings, without trying to teach them any further, for the student had proven a clever sort of their own regardless. At least when it came to that which haunted from beyond death.

He listened to Brent’s murmurs.

To build.

To create.

To transform.

Llyr stopped walking. He sharply turned around to look at the other man. His hands folded behind him in a soldier-like posture. He tilted his head slightly to peer down at Brent. The biqaj whispered, “Talent…”

The way that Emea worked, he could almost see the ambition and desire inside of the other man. Especially when Brent looked around the cathedral again. Llyr nodded slowly, and gradually recognized the sort of upward ambition…

What must I do?

A smile slowly lifted the corners of Llyr’s lips. They had seemed pale of flesh a moment ago, yet now his lips looked as if they’d stained with blackberry juice. His eyes turned bright, iridescent in ethereal glow.

“You must devote yourself to me, give all that you are and will be so that you can reach heights you never thought possible,” he said in a low, deep voice without a hint of hesitation. His tone had a seductively tempting cadence to it, slow and deliberate in his words. He gave a pause for a few trills, for Brent to initially react, then Llyr sharply laughed in an almost barking noise. “I jest! No, no! You don’t have to do that!”

He laughed again, the sound smoothing out in bubbles of amusement. His gossamer wings fluttered behind him. Llyr gracefully reached out and held his hand in offer for Brent to take it.

“It’s far less complicated than that. All you have to do is take my hand and follow me,” he said. Llyr considered, momentarily, to draft up a contract for the other man to sign… but not here. Not in the other man’s dreamscape. “I will even teach you of this world, of the dangers and the wonders, and what you might be able to accomplish within it.”

He waited for the man to accept his hand, and prepared to tear open the dream to escort him into the Veil. Yet he waited, in the case that Brent might not wish to follow.
word count: 460
Please — consider me a dream.
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Re: Pillars of Dreams

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As light reflected in all colours about the dream, Brent fixed his gaze on Mister Magpie and noticed his eyes shift to a swirl of iridescent colour matching his wings and the dream itself. It was captivating, to say the least, with a deep indigo smile upon the man’s lips.

The cartographer hung upon every word the mystical being spoke. Devote himself entirely? There were other spirits and beings less tangible and less full of promise that other Melrathi subscribed to. Whether it was due to his lower inhibitions of the dream or the intense desire to excel and live up to his potential, Brent gave a small nod without breaking his gaze with the winged man.

With the sudden reveal of the jest, Brent quickly scowled in attempt to hide the flush of embarrassment to his cheeks. As both a practical and honest man, he was more susceptible to lies and misrepresentation, be it in jest or with intent. For half a trill, he recalled his initial skepticism of the man, or the noble as he had thought. If Brent were to follow this man, he would have to remember to stay grounded and not get lost in the awe and wonder Mister Magpie seemed to use to seduce those around him.

“You have a way about you, Mister Magpie, like you could be a great leader.” Brent said, revealing his thoughts about the young man. ‘Could’ was still a factor in Brent’s mind. Even though the winged man could clearly inspire others, a good leader also had to keep his promises to those he governed.

At the blonde’s offered hand, it was evident that he was soon going to find out if Mister Magpie kept his promises. The cartographer hesitated a moment, was it truly wise to dabble in such magics as this mystical man? Yet there was a greater pull to become something exceptional, to defy the forces of the normal world, and to truly put down his mark by building something bigger and grander than others had accomplished before him. He glanced around the cathedral, trying to imprint it in his mind. Then he stepped forward to grasp the younger man’s hand.

Something about the finality of the action made his dream shudder. The scene of the cathedral began falling around them. But not tumbling or cracking. It was almost as if they were levitating upwards because the pillars and arches were all descending and fading out of existence. With a hint of panic, Brent tightened his hold in almost a crushing grip on Mister Magpie’s hand. Dangers, there were always dangers. But at this moment he was most afraid of his dream crumpling and waking up in his bed being none the wiser.

So long as Mister Magpie was leading the way, Brent would stumble along after him, even as the dream grew dark. It was if they were in a tunnel with a faint light at the very end. Was this the way out? Was this what Mister Magpie had meant by following him, or did the mystical man have something else in mind? Little did Brent know that the dreamscape was still within his unconscious mind’s control. Or at least it was for now.

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Re: Pillars of Dreams

That Brent seemed more than willing to follow the first offer… it made Llyr hesitate for a trill. He wondered about this, and whether it was simply an effect of the dream. Whenever most people met him within Emea, they always seemed willing to do so much or looked at him in the way that Brent stared at him now. The young mage didn’t understand it very well though. He couldn’t. Llyr would never be able to see himself how most others saw him. It was simply an impossibility of the mind.

He broke the serious mood off and proclaimed his instruction as a mere jest. Llyr laughed, but he didn’t laugh at Brent. He was only amused at the idea of demanding something like devotion from a man he’d only just met.

“You have a way about you, Mister Magpie, like you could be a great leader.”

It was Llyr’s turn to blush. The silvery-blue color rose on his cheeks. His laugh turned nervous. He shook his head in dismissal of the idea, despite the flattery he took it as. Llyr offered his hand and along with his invitation, he added, “I am only one of many wonders in these worlds of our’s. Come, Melrathi, let me reveal to you far greater things than a meager person such as myself.”

He patiently waited while Brent considered the invitation. There was no need to rush such a decision. If Brent were to deny him, then he would leave the dream and continue his perpetual journey through Emea.

When Brent stepped forward and took his hand, Llyr smiled and nodded.

The dream shuddered. Around them, the cathedral began to fall as they lifted upward. Llyr felt the tightened hold on his hand, but he firmly grasped Brent’s hand in return. His wings stroked through the air to help maintain a certain balance. With his free hand, he reached to a belt and retrieved a dagger.

Llyr glanced at Brent, as he recognized the panic of the new dreamer, and he said in a soothing voice as if tucking a child into bed with a lullaby, “You are safe with me, Brent. Do not fear.”

He stabbed the dagger into the dreamscape above them. Llyr sliced it open in a violent strike, and guided them through the gathered light beyond. A flash of warmth, a bright light, then they were no longer in Brent’s dreamscape – but the Veil instead.

The Veil would appear differently to the two of them. Llyr could not know what Brent would see, other than it would be whatever symbolized passageways to the human. He returned his dagger to his belt, then lightly ran his hand over the torn spot to smooth over the path he’d taken them through.

Llyr looked at Brent’s hand, which still held his, and he didn’t let go quite yet. He said, “Now, there’s one more thing… if you don’t mind. So that you won’t accidentally get lost forever.”

The tall biqaj stepped closer to Brent. He allowed the momentary realization that they were no longer in the human’s dreams to distract the man. Llyr placed his gloved hand against Brent’s face to hold him still. He planned to steal the kiss that would act as his brand. Yet something caused him to pause instead. While normally he would just place the brand and be done with it, before the man had time to think, as he had done with all his other initiates so far… for once, Llyr didn’t.

He asked in a methodical, gentle tone of voice, “I’m… going to kiss you, so that I might be able to find you after we inevitably leave one another… is… Is this okay with you?”
word count: 641
Please — consider me a dream.
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Re: Pillars of Dreams

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With the shuddering of the dream, the winged man drew a dagger and whispered words suited to a child. Under normal conditions, Brent would have resented the indignity, but his mind was already struggling to keep up as Mister Magpie tore open the fabric of his dream. From the dark tunnel came a flood of light, blinding him for a few moments. It was surreal as the winged man guided them through the tear into the brightness beyond and Brent could only hope that he wouldn’t trip as he passed through.

It was as though they had surfaced from the dark tunnel and reached the light of day once more. After Brent’s eyes finally adjusted, he saw himself at a set of crossroads. Multiple roads stretched out endlessly from where he stood and cut through a canopied forest. Nothing stirred, just him and Mister Magpie, and they were simple worn paths that were used as roads.

The cartographer blinked as he looked around, and Mister Magpie did something to the tear they had walked through. Yet not once did Brent attempt to let go of their held hands. The tall blonde spoke again and suddenly came very close, placing his hand on the side of Brent’s face. Although the cartographer’s reaction was delayed due to the unexpected act, his free hand went quickly to grasp Mister Magpie’s forearm and applied enough downward pressure such that the hand might be moved away.

At the request, Brent’s face contorted with repulsion and a hint of surprise, and he took a step back to regain a bit of space between them. He felt a moment of unease as he recalled Malach and her true nature, but he shook his head. Malach had been different in every other way. But this man…

“No,” he answered, in case his body language wasn’t obvious enough. “I do not want to be kissed.”

His gaze had hardened, yet after a moment after overcoming the initial shock of the idea, he recalled some of Mister Magpie’s other words in relation to the function or purpose of such an act.

“Are you looking to create some sort of mark to find me again? A… a... brand?” Without hesitation, he pushed up his sleeve to his shoulder on the arm where he still held Mister Magpie’s hand.

“Here. I don’t care if it hurts.”

While Brent knew vaguely of the concept of brands, he didn’t know much about how they were made. What he did know was that if it needed to be physical, he’d much rather a hand or anything really, instead of a grossly intimate kiss with another man. If for whatever reason Mister Magpie required a kiss of sorts, Brent would reluctantly endure one being placed on his arm.

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Re: Pillars of Dreams

Llyr felt the man's grasp on his forearm, and the firm press-away so that he didn’t touch Brent’s face. The blond blinked. Even Kasoria hadn’t reacted with such… sudden refusal when he’d gotten close to the old assassin. Yet this laborer did? It struck him as almost odd. Except it reminded him of one other human…

He inquired as to the brand, and the disgusted yet surprised expression made it even more clear. This Brent was like Oberan. He was repulsed by magic. Llyr felt slightly sad about it, especially since he’d made the man one of his very few initiates in the walking of Emea. He thought again of the cathedral, and the ambitions of the man before him, and felt more confusion about it.

A slow nod, and Llyr didn’t approach even though he felt his Spark of Transmutation's encouragement to surpass the challenge before him. It wanted him to press forward anyway, to break past the boundary regardless of comfort – for either man. The young mage looked concerned. His eyes had taken on a blue color. His gossamer wings hung limply behind him, as if bogged down by water. His halo dulled.

“Yes, a brand,” he answered when Brent asked. He blinked, confused by the pushed-up sleeve. Llyr gradually let go of the other man’s hand. He scratched his temple, then said, “It shouldn’t hurt… it never has for anyone else, that is.”

“I… uh…” Llyr wasn’t sure what to do. None of his initiates or branded had ever denied him the required kiss before. He looked down at his palm. If he cut himself open and bled on the other man… but that seemed far more… intimidating to him. He didn’t want to unduly frighten the new dreamwalker with what would look like ritual blood rites. Besides, what sort of Emeyan creatures would get lured to them by the draw of blood? He couldn't risk it.

“Okay, I’ll… I guess I could…” Llyr scratched at his white-blond hair. He placed a hand against the man’s bicep and waited… he tried to brand that way, just like he had once placed a hand on Mister Kiwi’s shoulder and waited…

...and like that first time with his Emean mentor, it did absolutely nothing.

“Are you sure?” asked Llyr as he lowered his hand when he realized that wasn’t going to work. “It’s merely a kiss, long enough for the brand to transfer and… I’ve never had anyone refuse me. Well, except for this one fellow who called me… what was it… Ah, yes, abhorrent.”

“You find me abhorrent, Brent?” the youthful biqaj asked in a quiet voice. His blue elfin eyes stared at the Melrathi man. “I understand, mages are not always considered acceptable and my mutations can repulse people. But… I have never placed a brand any other way, except… maybe I might be able to kiss your arm?”

Llyr leaned closer. He glanced at Brent, almost awkward in how he checked if the other man would allow him to continue. The blond waited. He took Brent’s hand again, raised it, then he gingerly set a chaste kiss against the top of the man’s hand. Nothing happened. He kissed again, this time remaining a bit longer with his plush lips against the skin. He waited… closed his eyes to focus… then he let go of Brent’s hand and quickly returned his posture to his tall height.

“This has never happened to me before,” insisted Llyr. A silvery-blue blush rose on the etherist’s face.

word count: 620
Please — consider me a dream.
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Re: Pillars of Dreams

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Mister Magpie’s mood and appearance shifted to one that was sullen and… offended? Brent couldn’t quite grasp the right words to describe the sudden change in mood, but nevertheless he felt a guilt ball coiled in the middle of stomach. There was confusion on the young man’s face, which in turn added to Brent’s own confusion. Was a brand not a brand?

When the blonde placed his hand on Brent’s bicep, the cartographer relaxed slightly, thinking this was all it was going to be. Yet after a moment or two of pressure, nothing seemed to happen and Mister Magpie removed the hand.

“Why a kiss? Is it not working?” Brent replied to Mister Magpie’s own question. Something seemed to be wrong. Why had the young man asked if it was going to be okay if the alternative did not seem to work? In short order, the blonde had explained that no one prior had turned down the intimate kiss that was proposed. And as much as he wanted to ease the process, Brent still found himself feeling rigidly opposed.

“Not abhorrent…” Brent answered warily. “You’re different, there’s no doubt about that. But you’re a man, and I’m a man…” He wasn’t doing very well at trying to explain his automatic repulsion of the idea. But when the blonde tentatively asked about a kiss elsewhere, Brent hesitated before giving a slow nod. That he could bear, not so intimate and more withdrawn. The cartographer held out his hand and slightly looked away. The press of wet plush lips on the back of his hand was surprisingly soft and gentle, but Brent tried to steal himself to instead imagine it coming from anyone other than a man.

Yet it was all for naught as it became clear that the brand hadn’t worked.

Brent shifted uncomfortably, knowing all too well that the blonde had already or was intending to give him the gift of clarity, and yet Brent couldn’t even accept a kiss of sorts. Looking at the silvery blue face of the ethereal being in front of him, Brent tried to sort out his confused thoughts.

“You’re a man,” he repeated, stating the obvious. “And a kiss like that… you don’t really want to be intimate with a man like that, do you?” Brent was projecting with the rhetorical question, but before letting the blonde answer, he continued. “If you were a woman, that would be different. I’d have no problems kissing a woman, especially a beautiful one. In fact, I’d rather enjoy it.”

Brent was silent for a few moments as he wondered whether he could sufficiently paint a different picture in his mind, and imagine being kissed by a lady, just to get it over with.

“Is it quick? I could imagine you as…” Brent shook his head, unable to fully reconcile the idea. He still shifted uncomfortably, looking at Mister Magpie’s face and away several times.

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Re: Pillars of Dreams

Why a kiss?

Llyr wasn't sure how to answer. He worried his lower lip with a small bite on the flesh until it dappled with the silver-blue of his blood. The biqaj shook his head, and listened... it wasn't because he was a mage, but a man. It'd been a while since he'd encountered such a view, but there had been a time - before getting caught up in his marriage - that it had been the only view he knew. His father, of course, had been most vocal about such things and lumped wagos into the general degeneracy of those vile and undeserving of mercy or grace. A funny thing to consider, when he took into account how much his father seemed to enjoy torturing and killing other people.

"I see," he said in a calm voice. "If it would make you feel better, I can change myself into a woman but it would be a waste of both our time to bother for a mere kiss..."

His wings fluttered behind him. The colors of his eyes changed to a topaz yellow hue. When he saw the nod, he nodded as well and attempted to brand the back of the man's hand. He sighed at the failure, though. Llyr tilted his head to the side, closed his eyes for a moment, and then said, "There are things, Mister Brent, in the dreaming world that are not like the waking world. Not everything is... how do you say... controlled and defined. Separation is not so clear here. One can learn to manage and guide the chaos, but one can never make it anything other than something out of reach from our mere mortal grasp."

"I cannot say exactly why my brands work as they do, my own teacher suggested it may have to do with my... choices in life, but I do not know if this is actually the case," admitted Llyr in a clear voice while he looked at the other man. His halo flickered above his head. "What you say... it reminds me of my life before. Before magic, before... any of this. Before I could walk through dreams, before I could create out of nothing but ether, before I wedded a nobleman and was molded into the role of his wife, and before I found how... how it isn't so..."

Here, the youthful man paused and looked at the Veil between their feet. Llyr's dark brows creased in a thoughtful furrow. He closed his eyes, took a breath, and then said, "It isn't so... dangerous as it might seem. A kiss is simply a kiss. I do not seek to bed all who I kiss to brand."

His eyes opened again and the effeminate, pointed ear biqaj returned his gaze onto Brent. "There is an intimacy to this door to power I have granted you. Make no mistake, and no matter how you choose to wield it, it is power. Everything comes at a cost... especially power. Walking through Emea, and dreams, is an intimate affair. The brand makes it so I can find you, and check if you require assistance. In your journeys, if you should so choose, you will find the depths of the heart and souls of all those in existence. You will learn of the hellish evils that exist within the minds of some, and the lofty ambitions of others. For every respectable good mind out there, there is another who is corrupted and demented."

"I have very few initiates. You have been allowed this, through me, because I wish to see you build what you have shown me. I wish to see the cathedral, I wish to offer you that ability for there is great potential within dreams to construct without actual waste of resources. To test ideas and even more, as you strengthen your connection to Emea. With this, though, you have joined the ranks of my initiates in your connection to me. I will always take an interest in your progress, because of this. But you may find your fellow initiates to be your allies in this world, of which there is only three; the Etzori assassin known as the Raggedy Man, the clever Videnese student known as Sybil Malach, the renowned alchemist and warrior Doran Thetys."

"Kissing a man, one such as myself, for practical purpose..." he added, stepping closer. "...it will be the least of the oddities you will encounter in this world of dreams. My initiates must be stronger of will and mind than that. You must be willing to accept the absurd if you wish to explore Emea."

Llyr raised a hand. He set his index finger to the center of Brent's forehead. Then he sharply flicked the man's third eye. A burst of iridescent light blasted from it, severe heat burning into Brent's forehead and leaving a temporary but smoldering scorch mark on the spot. It had required a great deal of force, of consciously channeling his ether rather than allowing for the natural flow of his magic, but the brand set into the man's forehead. The mutated biqaj narrowed his eyes and demanded, "Awaken."

The Veil split open behind Brent. A rush of air forced the Melrathi, out of the space, and through the portal. The dreamlord sent Brent away, through the dreamscape, and back into the physical world to awaken in the same spot where the man had fallen asleep.
word count: 925
Please — consider me a dream.
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Re: Pillars of Dreams

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Although it seemed as though Mister Magpie listened to him, and rather intently, the blonde most certainly didn’t have the same aversion that Brent had attempted to explain. The concept of Mister Magpie changing into a woman left the cartographer blinking several times. Malach had effectively managed to change into a woman and this was also some strange variant of the dreamworld where seemingly anything could happen… It was a lot to take in for the man who was usually so grounded in reality. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the dreamwalker chose not to pursue this option.

Brent glanced into the blonde’s glittering yellow eyes and suddenly managed to place him as the sailor folk he knew as biqaj along with his pointed ears. The exchange seemed to be another failure, and Brent started to wonder if the winged man would succeed in what he was trying to do. While he was relieved that the blonde wasn’t making another pass at him, there was something sullen in his mood.

Dreams were not like the waking world. Of course. That was self-explanatory. As Mister Magpie tried to explain the nuances, Brent found himself focusing in on other oddities of Magpie’s nature that were eluded to.

Life before magic.

Life before walking through dreams.

Creating from nothing but ether.

Molded into a wife. Wedded a… oh, a nobleman.


Brent momentarily wondered if all dreamwalkers were ‘odd’. Did this place have a strange effect on men who walked through dreams? He internally vowed to cease immediately should it ever start affecting himself.

When Magpie began explaining what it meant to hold the power of walking through dreams, through Emea, Brent was reminded of Malach and how she said how important it was to teach of the dangers of the dreamworld. But if one could always wake up, how could it be so dangerous? Brent tried to absorb the information, although he began to shift restlessly. Nightmares, of course. Unspeakable beauty, there was also that. In a strange way Brent wanted to please Magpie with ingenious as his initiate, but he also wanted to see out that sense of accomplishment for himself.

Brent’s eyes widened in surprise at Malach’s name. Sybil Malach? Was that her full name? Then Magpie knew of her, and was the one to initiate her? As the cartographer struggled to put the pieces of the puzzle together, he was only somewhat paying attention until the winged man gave a flick upon his forehead. There was a sudden heat. Intense, painful, bright. Brent instinctively grasped his head with both hands. For a moment, the pain got worse, but then it settled into a strange warmth that seemed to pierce into his very soul with an odd sort of pleasure sensation attached to it.

However, before Brent could make sense of it, the fabric of the veil tore open and then shattered into a thousand iridescent shards. Awaken

There was the feeling of being swept through a torrential current of wind and air and Brent awoke with a gasp. His first instinct was to reach for his forehead and as he touched it gingerly, he felt the burning mix of both pleasure and pain. It subsided quickly, but the sensation had definitely been there. He was a bit shaken from the abrupt ending to the dream, however he was certain about something. Something had changed, and someday, perhaps in the distant future, but someday he would meet Mister Magpie again.

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Re: Pillars of Dreams

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Brent:

Knowledge:
Skill:
Engineering: Stone beams are susceptible to cracking at the bottom
Engineering: Stone is usually formed as pillars or arches
Engineering: Trees are just like pillars of wood
Engineering: Wood can be used as beams
Engineering: When a stick is bent, it cracks in the middle starting from the outside of the curve
Engineering: Arches are strong because they can't bend downwards
Acrobatics: Leaping to push someone away
Leadership: Trying to give direction to a group that is not paying attention
Leadership: Looking after crew members
Negotiation: Declining an offer
Negotiation: Offering an alternative

Non-skill:
Mister Magpie: Dreamwalker and mage who likes men intimately
Sybil Malach: Sybil's first name
Emea: Can be reached by tearing open the fabric of a dream
Dreamwalking: Initiation

Loot: Dreamwalking!
Wealth: -
Injuries: -
Renown: -
Magic XP: -
Skill Review: Appropriate to level.
Points: 15

Llyr:

Knowledge:
Dreamwalking - Brand: Brent Forrester (flick on forehead)

Loot: Brent: Dreamwalking initiation
Wealth: -
Injuries: -
Renown: -
Magic XP: -
Skill Review: Appropriate to level.
Points: 15

- - -
Comments: I already followed the thread when the two of you were writing it and really enjoyed it. It was well-written and an interesting read, from Brent’s project over Llyr’s sudden appearance in his dreamscape to their trip into the Veil, Llyr’s wanting to brand him with a kiss and Brent’s subsequent refusal.

I wonder if Llyr and Brent will ever meet again – and what Brent will do now that he is a dreamwalker.

Enjoy your rewards!

word count: 256

Mutations

N/A

Blessings

N/A

Worn Items

Ring of Reversal
Ring of Immunity
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