The Same Dream Again
I have had the same recurring dream several nights now. There are some slight variations but the context remains the same.
Every time, I find myself walking through the looming alleyways of old town. I don't know who I am, but I can feel fine silk slide over my skin as I walk. The ancient and pitted cobblestones under my feet send shards of broken stone flying with each hurried step. An unwholesome fog rolls in from the festering dumping grounds that have begun to spill over the retaining walls and into the main road. For some reason this pleases me.
I seem to be aware of details and affairs that I should not know. For example, I know that the fog is not natural. It gathers here by the will of an unseen power pulling the strings. In my dreams, this power is familiar to me, almost welcoming, but as soon as I am free of the dream, the meaning is lost upon my waking mind.
I make haste through the concealing fog towards the Harbormaster's offices. There I find myself in a poorly lit room with two figures obscured by shadows, both men. One is large and loud. He smells of rotting fish and stale beer. The other is also large, but more in physical stature than the girth of his belt. He clinks and scrapes with the sound of metal as he moves. A soldier or town guard perhaps.
They talk but I cannot make out what they say. The sense of dread and malice that pours from these men is a palpable wave of fire. In my heart I know that the decisions made around that table will mark the end of the world for mankind.
But last night's dream was different; it kept going. I find myself with a bird's eye view of the city, watching as arcane fire spreads across the horizon. It grows as far as the eye can see and burns all it touches to ash and oblivion. Then, as if floating at the end of a rope, in one hard pull I find myself back in the dark room. The pungent odor of unwashed men and rotting ocean fills my nose. I stare into a cracked mirror hanging on the wall, but I do not see myself staring back. It is the face of the High Advisor, his expression first marked by surprise and then anger. For a brief moment I catch the same fires that consumed the world stirring within his eyes.
In that instant the dream shattered and I awoke out of breath and tangled in sweat-soaked sheets. But I knew that it was more than just a nightmare spurred by an overactive imagination. He saw me through the glass, just as I saw him. I bore witness to something I was never meant to see. And now my identity is compromised. I must leave this place. Get as far away as I can.
I will head southeast, across the dark waters. Eerily familiar voices have been calling to me from that area for some time. I don't know why, but in my heart I am certain that safe haven awaits me in the bog. A boat leaves for Burrwitch in the morning. I intend to be on it.