Author Topic: To Sleep, Perchance To Dream  (Read 254 times)


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To Sleep, Perchance To Dream
« on: July 21, 2017, 03:49:00 PM »
To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
the heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
that Flesh is heir to? 'Tis a consummation
devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep,
To sleep, perchance to Dream; aye, there's the rub,
for in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,
when we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
must give us pause.
Hamlet, III i

~William Shakespeare

Since her waltz with Renna's Rage Virus and subsequent "cure," Isuelt DeRomiano had been experiencing dreams as vividly as she ever had.  Some were benign, nearly to the point where she truly believed them not to be dream, but reality.  Several times, her Sisters had to point out to her that a conversation had never happened, or a chore was never done that Isuelt had dreamt.  Still, others were nightmarish enough to rip her from her sleep, nearly screaming from terror and Isuelt would have sworn the visions more real to her than the feel of the sheets on her skin.  And there were quiet times throughout the days, or in the solace of a moonlit rooftop that she pondered the stories that plagued her sleep.  For are not dreams the unspoken desire of one's heart?  The enigmatic pondering of one's soul?  The crippling terror of one's fear?  Isuelt's dreams haunted her long after the break of morning, they kept her company on long night patrols, and they were the last to say good-night to her as she finally found a bed.  There was too much on her proverbial plate at present to find answers as to why she was having such incredible dreams, instead she waited on her troubles in order to more fully concentrate on the reality that met her each day.  There would be time later to figure out her dreams and why they were so real.  For now, she would ignore them as best she could.  

[size=9]((I know I have an Issy dream journal somewhere...but for the life of me I can't find it.  So...we get a new one!))[/size]


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Merry's Portents of Trouble
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2017, 03:52:19 PM »

There was a certain smell to the earth after a day and a night of battle.  The early morning dew knew it, the carrion fowl knew it, even the wind knew it as it refused to blow away the metallic stench of blood and the sickly sweet scent of decay.  There were no crickets or insects of any kind buzzing around; which struck Isuelt as odd.  Where were the flies?  Surely not even the damp mist of the morning could keep them from their prizes?  Isuelt remembered well where she was; she had not been back here for a long while, but it felt as if she left this field only yesterday.  Slowly, she stood up from her kneel (did she remember kneeling?) and felt the blades in her hands, their hilts sticky with blood.  She didn?t know if it was hers or someone else?s; at this point it didn?t really matter.  Blinking, Isuelt scanned what was before her: in the growing fog, she could see the mostly flat meadow that had cradled the morose acts of war and now offered up darkened masses, bodies, along the ground.  They were strewn about in whatever manner had befallen them.  She counted silently: three?five?ten?twenty? The scenery went on until she could not see through the mist and the hills beyond.  

She knew that her husband was one of those bumps and the Scathachian was overwhelmed at that moment to find him, not let him ripen and rot for the crows to feast upon.  She kept her wits as closely as she could as she floundered from her stance to hunt among the dead, some nearly impossible to recognize, some bloated beyond possibility.  At times nearly stumbling, hovering from body to body; with each unnamable corpse her heart beat faster.  Where was he?  Her breath began to come in ragged scraps, her own body ached everywhere, now and then a piercing pain in her shoulder and back: injuries sure to fester if she did not take care.  He was here somewhere, she knew it.  She remembered the death stroke as it fell from General Gothicus? blade; cutting down her husband in a single stroke.  She watched him crumble as the General sneered and moved effortlessly on to his next victim.  She had held him as he bled and died in her arms without being able to say a word.  Isuelt looked down at the blades in her hands, their leather wrapped grips nearly stuck to her fingers.  It was his blood; she was covered in it.  How she knew it was his was beyond her, but instinct had taken over.  

The mist now was too thick to know how much of the field she had covered looking for her husband, yet she knew she was far from where she started.  Tears stung her eyes as if the smoke of funeral pyres had already begun.  ?Merry??  She screamed into the misty distance.  ?MERRY!?  Her voice echoed as if she were in a marble hall, bouncing off of every surface and ringing in her own ears.  When her own breathless screeches passed into silence there was nothing.  No sound whatsoever, barely the sound of her own heartbeat.  She could not remember a time when she felt so alone?well, save for one other time.

?Don?t look for me here.?  After what seemed an eternity, the warmth of those words in a tone she had not heard in ages melted her fear in an instant.  Isuelt turned to look upon the face of her husband; his shoulder-length dark hair falling to the side of his bearded face, though his dark eyes looked unusually light.  Merry shook his head lightly, his voice becoming as gentle as the rain, ?Don?t.?

Isuelt?s breath caught in her throat as she opened her mouth in awe.  She admitted only to herself that there were days when she couldn?t remember his face, the curve of his jaw, the glint in his eye, the sound of his laughter.  But here he was, as if he had never left her decades ago, never died on the sword of General Gothicus.  She could barely speak but to push out a single breath that sounded much like the sound of his name.

Merry lifted his fingers to her jaw and tipped her chin, ?It?s been a few years, hasn?t it, Ch?re??  The light accent of the gypsy rogue sounded in her ears and strangely it was as if not a single day had gone by since they?d talked.  The blades fell from Isuelt?s hands and she collapsed into her husband, clinging to him as if she were hanging from a cliff?s edge.

And just like that everything fell away.  The pain in her body, the stench of decay, the darkness of the mists, the heaviness in her heart.  Isuelt wanted to sob against him, but she couldn?t.  She felt as if all of the years of self-deprecation, self-hatred, bitterness and virulence had never happened.  For an instant, reality was suspended and she was here in her husband?s arms far away from any threat or problem.  And that instant, mercifully, lasted longer than she expected.

?Iz??  Merry moved his face from hers and brushed some of the hair from her eyes.  ?I?m here for a reason.  You know that don?t you??

Isuelt looked up at him and it was as if he was speaking directly into her body: she not only heard his words, but she felt them.  ?Yes??  She could not take her eyes off of him.

?Something?s coming for you.?  His velvet voice was a whisper before he kissed her gently.  His lips moved against hers as he spoke again at an impossibly near-silent level, ?I need you to pay attention, mon ?pine.?

Isuelt blinked, hearing his nickname for her.  Thorn.  Thorn in his side, piercing personality, ready to draw blood at any given moment?but fragile.  He was the first person to ever see that.  At first she was more taken aback by hearing her nickname again for the first time in over twenty years.  Slowly though, his warning sunk in.  ?Coming for me??

?Yes, Ch?re.  Your enemies have seen each other.  They see what you do not.  They know what you cannot.  They are joining.  And you, Iz honey, you are standing in the middle of a field waiting for them to mow you down.?  He kissed her once more and she felt the warmth of his lips on hers for a second more before he was gone.  

Everything was gone.  

And there she was, standing in the middle of a field.  On the horizon was the oddest looking storm.  Isuelt could see lightning, but it was green.  And the swirling clouds were red.  She could hear her name being whispered, but it was no longer the honeyed tones of her husband.  This voice was like claws on glass, like pin pricks against her skin.  The storm was moving closer, or was the horizon getting closer?  She began to step backwards, but she tripped over something.  Scrambling to get up, Isuelt fumbled on Merry?s bloodied corpse; his chest nearly cleaved open from the General?s strike, his pale face stuck in a warped expression of horror.  Clawing the dirt to get to her feet, she let out a strangled cry.  Why she couldn?t scream with anymore fervor eluded her at the moment.  The thunder rumbled again and her dark eyes looked to the horizon, though the storm was no longer there.  It was just above her now.  The clouds were pulsing with heat, with their sickening sanguine color.  The shock of electricity lit up with a repulsive shade of gangrenous green.  And was that?.laughter?  Isuelt strained to hear beyond the storm.  Was someone laughing?  Her pulse echoed loudly in her ears as the shrieks of lightning scratching at the sky.  The laughter began again and built into a crescendo of thunder that had her gasping for air as she sat upright in her bed, clutching at her chest, damp sheets clinging to her sweating bare skin.


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Re: To Sleep, Perchance To Dream
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2017, 04:17:32 PM »

From the depths of sleep the smallest sound felt like a thin fishing wire pulling her from beneath the waves as she fought to stay in slumber.  Try as she may, Isuelt's lashes parted and she opened her eyes against her pillow.  The room was dark and frankly blurry.  Her heart was racing and she didn't know why as of yet.  But there was something in that unassuming noise that filled her with a dread; the tiny hairs on the back of her neck were at attention and she felt as if she were not alone in her room.  Every instinct in her body told her to get up and be ready.  She did just that.  She pushed off her covers and swung her legs over the edge of the bed, standing so quickly that it took her equilibrium a moment to catch up.  Isuelt took one side step, her hand out, before she regained her balance and her wits.  The cobwebs of sleep clearing themselves before too long.  

Her eyes blinked repeatedly in the lingering darkness, trying to accustom themselves to whatever meager light there was.  Isuelt guessed that it was still night, or at the very latest it was early morning just before dawn.  The only sounds she heard were her own breaths and her boy shifting as she looked around her room.  Her head ached and she deduced that she simply hadn't gotten enough sleep.  Isuelt lifted the palms of her hands to her eyes and she pressed, trying to get the headache to go away.  She was still standing up when she quickly took her hands from her face.  

The only other time she had had these headaches was about four years ago, before the Rage Virus.  Batten had found something in an evaluation and it concerned him deeply.  He had said she'd had a tumor in her head, though the Virus she had contracted had actually shrunk the mass.  Isuelt's memories of that time were either fuzzy or so sharp that they felt as if it had happened yesterday.  Instantly, she reached up to her nose and let her fingertips drag along her upper lip.  No blood.  It was just a stupid dream.  A stupid headache.  She sighed and lifted her chin to look at the ceiling as she began to relax.

"You know, from this angle, I can see down that thin little tank top of yours..." Renna was plastered against the ceiling above her, her red eyes glowing enough to suddenly light up the room.  Isuelt nearly screamed out in shock as Renna's smile spread across her face in an elongated fashion, her taunting laugh echoing in Isuelt's ears.  The Scathachian staggered as her heart pounded against her ribs.  From the sides of Renna's head small protrusions began to grow and coil until Renna, who was now slithering slowly across the ceiling was sporting a full-grown pair of twisted ram's horns.  "Come to me, Issy...I will make you whole...We will make you whole.  It's already begun, you cannot stop it."  Renna's voice screeched and echoed as one of many until it sounded like no creature Isuelt had ever heard.

Isuelt's legs nearly failed her as she scrambled to get out of the way of the too-long arms reaching down for her, Renna's claws were out and sharpened so that Isuelt could nearly feel them slicing away at her skin before they even touched her.  Renna's mouth opened and revealed a snake where her tongue should have been, growing in size and lunging for Isuelt down below.  The Judge's feet wouldn't cooperate and she tripped, falling to the ground.  The hard floor jolting her from her nightmare, a corner of her sheet wrapped around her ankle.  

Isuelt's hands were on the floor, holding her up as she looked around her quieted room.  The light coming from behind the shades told her it was after sunrise.  Her breaths came in shallow, ragged gulps and there were beads of sweat along her forehead.  There was nothing on the ceiling except the usual hanging lanterns.  The only thing that remained from her nightmare was that headache; the dull, rhythmic throbbing that didn't seem to stop.  

While it was all a nightmare, it was reality as well.  That's what Isuelt couldn't stomach.  There had been rumors flying all over and then recently, a run-in with Renna herself corroborated that she had, indeed, joined forces with the Temple of Bhaal.  Isuelt saw it as the end of her world: Her greatest enemy who possessed intimate knowledge of her had joined with the most feared, most heavily armed enemy of her Order?  Together they would be unstoppable, there was no way Isuelt could hope to defeat them, let alone survive.  She feared that Renna was still in her head from her time suffering with the Rage Virus, she feared that Renna could feed all of Isuelt's secrets and shortcomings to the Bhaalites.  And the Temple would impart to Renna all that it knew of Isuelt and the Scathachians.  Isuelt couldn't bring herself to think that she would be the downfall of the Scathachian Nation, the Order that had brought her back from the brink of death, insanity, self-destruction so many times.  She shuddered and laid her forehead to her knees as she hugged her legs to herself in her little place on the floor of her room and wept.


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Forgive Us Our Trespasses
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2017, 07:24:33 PM »

((Adult themes.  Please be aware.))

In the darkness it was difficult to tell where she was exactly, except that she was walking.  Isuelt thought she was outside, but then again, the floor felt surprisingly even and more like hard tile.  The air was still; there was no breeze to speak of.  The Scathachian took a deep breath and felt as if the air were more stifling than refreshing, and there was something in the scent of the air she couldn?t quite put her finger on.  

?Hello??  Her voice echoed oddly again, seeming metallic.  She could not sense the space around her; she had no idea if she were in a big room or a small container.  It was like a vacuum.  Lowering her brow, her frown settling in, she took a few steps further, suddenly noticing that she was barefoot.  The floor felt wet.  Her steps immediately halted.  ?Is no one there??  She didn?t like this one bit.  There was no control that she could claim on the situation and for her, that was sheer hell.  Isuelt sighed heavily, ?Damnit?I?m dreaming, I know I?m dreaming??

?Is that it then??  A deep voice in the darkness inspired her to swing around, grabbing at her hips for blades that were not to be found.  ?That?s all there is?  You say you?re dreaming and this all goes away??  

Isuelt?s toes fought with the ground for support, whatever she was standing in was slick.  

?And you don?t have your weapons here.  You don?t need them.?  She could hear the mirth in his voice.

?You?re ****ing right I don?t need them.?  Her bravado was showing, she knew that she was a weapon when the time called for it.  Though she may not have been as confident as she wanted to sound.

That deep, echoing laughter slicing through right to her spine.  ?Always so quick to battle.  Always so eager for a fight.  Even when you are so completely out of your realm.  It?s one of the things that makes you so fascinating, one of the qualities that I cannot get enough of from you.  You are a work of art, Isuelt Blwythe??  

Her breath caught in her throat and for a split second she thought she recognized that voice, though she hadn?t heard it in over three decades.  ?Father??

?Yes.?  Even in the darkness, Isuelt could see the widening of a predatory grin.  ?Yes, I am your father in so many ways, my child.  I give you purpose.  I give you worth.  I give your life meaning.  And unlike your earthly father, I will never leave you.?

Isuelt?s toes were beginning to stick to the floor.  She moved them as slightly as she could to free them from the slick liquid.  ?You?re not my father.?  She was more intrigued than defiant.  

?And you think this is how you solve things, isn?t it, Isuelt??  He shuffled in the darkness, moving to some other location in the room.  Isuelt turned, relying heavily on her ears for any sound of breathing or movement.  Still, she couldn?t quite locate him.  ?You think you declare?no, decree things and they automatically come to pass?  You think that this world bends to your will?  Well, it doesn?t.  It bends to mine.?  He moved ever closer, of that she was sure.  ?Nothing in this realm happens that I don?t want to happen.?  Closer still.  ?Nothing that you?ve done will just float away or disappear, or cease to be true just because you wish it so.?  

Isuelt?s nose picked up the scent of smoke, her nostrils flared as she turned her head to the right.  His voice was nearly in her ear and she could feel his hot breath on her shoulder.  Her eyes still endeavored to pierce the darkness that fell before her like a thick curtain.  

?All of those lives you took.  Every single one of them.  Those souls scream for your demise.  And I do not only speak of those enemies you so bravely met on the battlefields.  The innocent lives that you stole when you murdered your victims in cowardly back alleys, behind brothels, in the streets and in their own beds??

The Scathachian swallowed as he spat her past into her face on the heels of fiery words.  She began to shake her head.  She had tried to straighten her life out, ever since she had come to Rhydin, she had taken the straight and narrow path of righteousness.  She had tried to bury her past as deeply as she could.

?No, you own your savage ways, your vicious past!  Do not deny it!  You cannot!?  His breath was like a hot oven searing her skin, yet she still could not see him.  ?And your so-called Scathachian Sisters, the whorish lot.  How many of your sworn Sisters did you lead to their deaths?  HOW MANY DID YOU LEAVE BEHIND??  The volume with which he spoke pushed her down.  ?THEIR BLOOD IS ON YOUR HANDS!?  

Isuelt landed on her backside, her hands splaying out to try and catch herself, but they slipped and smeared on the liquid floor.  Only then, as she looked down to her hands, did she finally see where she was.  The Scathachian Sanctuary?s Temple on Rhydin; the floor was covered an inch deep in blood.  And as she looked up from her dripping hands, she saw the shadowed face of Bhaal leering down at her, seeming to grow in size as he loomed above her, his thunderous voice shaking her soul.  ?YOU MURDERING WHORE! YOU ARE MY OWN PROGENY AND YOU NEVER EVEN REALIZED IT!?  His black horns cut a sharp contrast to the white marble columns behind him, his shoulders were impossibly broad and Isuelt saw no possible escape as his body came crashing down upon hers.

Her legs and arms had no traction in the blood, Isuelt was not able to kick out or roll away, his weight was too much.  The pressure of Bhaal?s form against hers was insurmountable.  She was so crushed by him, she could only squeak out a few words, ?Sh?anadh?m??t??ainm?Scathach?? *

?Your past makes you my bride and like a bride I will take you and make you mine for all eternity.  You are a murderer and therefore my follower.  You are mine, Isuelt of Shadow.  And deep in your blood-stained soul, you know it.?

The pain that Isuelt felt ripping through her body was as white hot as her rage and as stifling as her fear.  She was bathed in blood, from above and below, she reeked of it.  And perhaps he was right.  Her past was so muddled, so dark, so bloody?  Perhaps it was the heat of his body, or perhaps it was her red-hot shame, but the floor felt as if it was beginning to boil, to burn.  She could feel her skin blistering as she screamed with all of her might, her own voice rattling in her throat.  

All at once everything stopped.  Bhaal disappeared, the darkness lifted, the blood was gone.  Isuelt was on her back on the cold marble floor of the Temple, staring up at the central dome in the ceiling.  She was alone and she could barely hear the crickets outside.  Her breath came quickly after she?d woken from her nightmare, her heart racing.  She slowly lifted her body until she was sitting up.  Isuelt held her head in her hands and indulged herself in a whimper.  Though it had been a dream, she pondered everything that Bhaal had said to her and the overwhelming amount of truth in it.

*I denounce you in Scathach?s name.