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Old 06-27-2004, 06:36 AM   #329
Stormdancer of Doom
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Dec 22: Entwash Delta, Ravion's Ramblers

Mellonin pulled her coak up over her head. "It cannot be time to rise. Not yet."

No one replied. She huddled deeper under her cloak and blanket, thought better of it, opened one groggy eye partway, found the fire, and crawled towards it. When she could feel its heat through the blankets, she curled towards it and pulled her hood over her eyes again.

She heard Raefindan's racking cough not far away. Gond snorted. She thought she heard Ravion whisper; but he was always noiseless. She opened an eye and peered out, and saw Ravion moving through the mist, hooded and cloaked.

She closed her eyes again, snuggled closer to the fire, and drifted off.

Blistering heat. Caustic fumes. Dust and ashes. It was neither day nor night. She stood in a valley-- no, a crevasse; on both sides sheer cliffs rose. Bones were scattered about; skulls leered at her. Misty forms wafted past her, each one a wave of fear in her soul. Despite the heat she was chilled.

"Why have you left me? Why have you not returned for me?"

The cliffs echoed her cry. The skulls mocked her. The misty forms drew nearer, listening. Fear took her breath away; she grew faint, fighting for air.

" You cannot be false. I have been true. I have waited. Why have you not come?"

Darkness fell. The skulls glimmered in the unlight. The misty forms wove around her, and sometimes passed through her in an ancient dance; she writhed to avoid the touch of their clammy hands. Their hands met hers nonetheless. Every handclasp made her weaker. Each breath was a struggle.

"Mellonin, wake. It is but a dream. Hear me. Mellonin, wake."

"I will not wake, for waking is only torment. I wake to find that you are not here. Beloved, when will you come? Why have you not come? I will sleep forever and dream of you."

The dance quickened, and every touch brought a deadly chill to her hands, her arms. She was slipping, slipping. The dance wove around her. Every breath seemed her last. The chill neared her heart. She welcomed it.

"Yes, I will sleep; I will forget my despair in sweet dreams of my love. Come, dreams. Come, sleep of death; would that you would take me hence. But alas, you may not. I will dream til my love comes."

No longer were the misty forms taking her hands in the dance; now they seized her by the shoulders.

She was face to face with a skull; she shrank from it, closing her eyes, willing herself to dream of her love.


"You are too gentle, Ravion." Aeron slapped her hard. Ravion glared at him.

Mellonin's eyes opened. Mouth open, choking for air, she stared wide-eyed at the faces hovering over her, shrank from the hands that held her.

"Mellonin, " pleaded Ravion.

Aeron raised his hand to slap her again, but Raefindan caught his wrist, and spoke. "Mellonin, it's us. Your friends. You're with us now. Ravion is here, Aeron is here, and Gwyllion. We won't hurt you. Remember us? You're awake now. You were dreaming. It was a dream."

Raefindan's soothing voice gradually brought her around. She sat up, looked at each one in turn, put her face in her hands, and slowly regained her breath.
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