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 Post subject: [STORY] Dream Time
PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:40 pm 
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Damin stirs the fire.

On most of Barraw, this would have been easier than breathing. But in the hanging swamps, the air was sultry, viscous and hot as if the marsh water was one with the air. This suited the Batarka and their holistic ravings, but for Damin it was hell. He was far from his beloved outback and the gaze of the sun; whatever sunlight he drew forth in these accursed foggy lands was life-giving if somewhat caustic, but hardly a fire-starter. Not even his beloved familiar, Kooka, should reflect harsh light for him to use.

He had spent the better part of the day collecting rocks along the cliffs, the strange natural cups holding pools of stagnant water. Most were useless, but a few tainted soil coloured ones could start a fire. Problem being that they were deeper in the matrix, running the risking of a blurst of vile water blasting him off. Using the coral coloured vines embracing the cliffs, he made a few platforms of sticks and other plant waste on knots and where vines incorporated tree branches, where he could just lay down and pick at the rock with his obsidian knife. Precise as a surgeon, he scalped the earth for even the smallest tainted soil crystals, then laid then in a bag made from human skin.

Kooka, naturally, flew above him in circles, watching out for the tribe to whom the person that Damin cannibalised belonged to. All that came to them that day were sea eagles, soaring curiously around the Ropen.

Damin sat, sheared the slabs of coal against each other, and threw them in a sand burrow, the only non-wet, non-flammable ground he could find.

Now he stirs it, blood and salt sparkles coming from the flames. With a deep breath, he channels mana from the base of the skull to his arms and hands, his fingers carefully weaving the flames with various colours. First the colour of blood, then the colour of the tainted soil, then of the streams coming forth, then of the salt whose streams deposit, then of the coral building itself with that salt, which then becomes the colour of blood. Most of the strands of magic he weaves are weakened, aside from the colors of the tainted soil, water and coral, but his own mana allows for him to embellish the fire with his mana, of the blood plains and salt mountains.

The fire is alive like a plant, nursed by a simulacrum of the sun within its very self. Damin plays with it, watching the flames and their strange colours, dipping rock rods now blazing in gold and lightly touching his own flesh, causing radiant tattoos through searing pain. Kooka brings him a cassowary corpse, whom he eats like a starved goana, then throws the bones and fat at the fire. They quickly disintegrate, leaving only salt coloured smoke.

The feathers, though, he collects. With some remaining tendons, he gathers then all in the bag, and rubs it against himself, covering it with his salt, blood and water coloured fluids. Damp, the bag is harder to burn, but a pulse of frustration is all it takes for blood coloured magic to empower the flames. The bag is consumed, and the air is rich with tainted soil coloured ash and salt coloured fumes, hybridising in a harsher fog than the one that naturally covers the hanging swamps.

Damin lays down and inhales the mixture. It burns his lungs, making him instantly pass out from the pain.

And dream.

In this trance, Damin will awaken to a starry sky. Purple will extend in waving bands all around him, as if the night sky will blur the land in which he will be located. Damin will try his hardest for his sight to breach this enchantment, and he will find himself in a calm treeless prairie, his beloved home.

"You could just have accessed Trancetime by being distracted" Kooka will say, her voice luminous but ruinous like a sunburst, "So much damage that did not need to be inflicted, and that I can quite possibly not repair".

"If I cannot go home then I might as well die" Damin will respond, accepting the futility of his life.

He will get up and walk, almost blindly, and he will be guided only by the reflections of Kooka's light on various objects. He will travel chaotic lands, that will move like serpents and shift like octopodes. He will on occasion see flashes of memory, of his first steps, of his first kill, of his lover's lips, of the charred remnants of those lips. Time will flow back and forth, like water just after being shoved on a bottle. It will certainly feel like water to Damin, the "air" around him so thick as to be underwater, existence suspended and floating.

He will raise his hands and move them through this time water of the mind, his fingers filtering what he will want to see. He will see it, a pin-point of salt, and he will punch it.

Damin awakes. His body is fully healed.

He looks from the hanging marsh, the deep foggy valleys descending and descending, until at the very bottom is a sliver of red sand.

Damin stirs the fire, now in his fist.

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Planeswalker's Guide
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 Post subject: Re: [STORY] Dream Time
PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2018 10:52 am 
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The mixture of tenses gives this a dream-like quality, which almost works here given the Trancetime. It makes Damin feel a bit disconnected from reality, even while not deliberately trancing, but also confuses the reader.

Speaking of confusing, it took me a while to realize that you meant the rocks could start a fire, instead of the stagnant water. Everything made sense once I puzzled out where the coal came from. Similarly, it took me a while to realize you meant "could" instead of "should" and "those" instead of "whose." I'm still not sure what you mean by the matrix, though "blurst" is a fun word, nor whether Damin had eaten someone or is just using their body somehow.

The focus on salt is very interesting, and feels like it should say something about who Damin is. This piece seems to raise more questions than answers about him, but leaves me wanting to see more.

Thank you for sharing!


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 Post subject: Re: [STORY] Dream Time
PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2018 5:29 pm 
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Thanks!

Matrix in this case is used as something where things are, like the matrix of a cell. In this case, the rock formations.

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