((This is a bit long, but this drabble is taken from an RP with bellsastuff’s lovely desert troll shaman, Dash’rak. As a follower of the Night’s Friend Loa, Mueh’zala, Dash’rak can dreamwalk and interpret dreams. One night, Anzeti has a dream that puzzles him and so he asks Dash’rak for his help.
This scene takes place in the middle of a months-long guild event in which the Shadowtusk Clan are besieged by non-troll invaders.))
Zul’Gurub: Shadow Temple hut area: Midnight: Day Four of the Siege
Anzeti wakes in his hut, breathing hard as if he had been running. Rubbing sleep from his eyes, he sits up slowly. His dream had troubled him, but he’s not sure why. Images of the jungle rushing by came back to him. Anzeti closes his eyes, concentrating on recalling the dream. Sand. There was sand. The hissing of a tiger. The crying of a baby. Falling into water…
Anzeti opens his eyes, and his hut fades into view from the darkness. Does the dream mean anything? If so, what?
The older Sandfury looks about his hut, at the travelers bags not fully unpacked, save for the necromancy supplies recently put to frequent use, a pile of old clothes in the corner, and the bed roll he sat in. His desert spider familiar, Shadrakin, had tucked herself into the side of a bag for the night, leaving only her folded front legs, mandibles, and watchful eyes in view.
Anzeti sighs and stands up. Shadrakin curls herself further into her nest. The smell of a campfire wafts into his hut, carrying the scent of food cooking. He looks out of his doorway. A familiar silhouette of an impossibly skinny Sandfury sits at the fire by the huts down the path.
Shuffling out of his hut, Anzeti makes his way to Dash’rak. The young shaman sits on a log by a brightly burning fire outside of his hut, eating a freshly hot bowl of oatmeal. Dash’rak had once mentioned to Anzeti that he could interpret dreams. As a fellow follower of Mueh’zala, the Night’s Friend, perhaps he could help make sense of the strange dream.
Anzeti clears his throat. “Evenin’, Dash’rak.”
The Sandfury turns, pulling a spoon out of his mouth. “Oh, e-evening, Anzeti.”
Anzeti shuffles to a spot on the log and sits, the warmth of the crackling fire combating the cool of the night air. “How yah been sleepin’? Better?”
Dash’rak smiles, looking relaxed as he scoops another spoonful of oatmeal from the bowl. “Y-yes, th-th-thank you. I’ve been s-sleeping a lot b-better lately. H-how about y-you?”
The older Sandfury frowns. “I, uh, just woke up from a strange dream, actually.” He looks at Dash’rak. “I was wondering if you could tell me if it means anything?”
Dash’rak sets the spoon back into his bowl. “Oh, of-of course.” He rests the bowl in his lap and turns to face Anzeti. “D-dreams can be Mueh’zala g-giving us a m-message. What was your d-dream?”
Anzeti clears his throat. “Well, uh, I’m standin’ on the beach just north of Grom’gol. I hear…. a baby crying, and it’s layin’ in the jungle. There’s a tiger stalkin’ it, so I run and grab it, and keep running. Running to Zul’Gurub…”
Dash’rak looks into the fire and starts to hum. His gaze looks distant as he listens.
“This tiger’s chasin’ on my heels, and every time I look at it, it’s skinnier and skinnier. And it’s not just behind me. As I’m runnin’, this tiger’s behind trees and beside and in front of me. It’s everywhere…
“I get to the river and climb up the hill, the baby still cryin’. But there’s nowhere to go. Tiger’s standin’ behind me, so I jump. Into the river. I woke up when I hit the water…”
Anzeti frowns. “Dunno what happened to the baby… Why would I jump with a baby in my arms? The tiger was bare-bones at the end. Glowin’ yellow eyes… I just don’t know. Freaked me out.” He looks to the younger Sandfury. “Does it mean anything, Dash’rak?”
Dash’rak’s humming grew louder and louder until he stopped suddenly, eyes a bit far away as he looked into the fire. “The f-first part of every d-dream reading is explaining the elements in your dream. You have several in that. You started out on sand, like home.
“For anyone else, sand would mean instability, feeling small, an annoying itch. For us, it means the opposite. It means home, something that we all miss.” His voice has certainty, the stutter gone as he continues on.
“The tiger is Kimbul. He represents the fight of living in the desert, the fight to dig in and live despite everything saying to just lay down and die. But he grows thinner and thinner as you leave the sands. You don’t understand why you have to go, but you know you need to, even if it’s pushing you from what you know and are comfortable with. Even if it softens you. Coming here didn’t fix it. It is still keeping you soft.”
Anzeti nods, watching the embers glow in the fire, his eyes lost in thought.
Dash’rak continues. “You then go into the jungle, opposite of what we know. Green, lush, humid, warm. We’re children of fire and air. This land is all water and earth. The sudden jump from sand to earth represents you leaving the comforts of home for a reason that was important to you, but you’re not sure why.”
Anzeti crosses his arms, resting his chin on his folded forearms. “Hmm…”
Dash’rak continues. “You are worried. You don’t understand. The logic from the air and the fury from the fire is being deadened by the solidness of the earth and the emotion of the water. So, when you jump into the river, you throw yourself into emotion, trying to find a reason. A new concept of why.”
Dash’rak blinks, shaking his head abruptly and rubbing at his face. “D-does that m-make sense?”
Anzeti nods, still looking into the fire. “Yah. I’ll admit, when I joined this Clan, I’d hoped that I would be able to practice my necromancy right away. But, I been here a while, and this is the first that I’ve been able to do it, acceptably. Before this siege, I hardly told anyone I practiced necromancy. I tried to fit in how I could otherwise and make a place for me here…” Anzeti pauses, thinking. “But… what does the baby mean?”
Dash’rak chewed on his oats thoughtfully. “It m-means th-that you’re changing. Which m-makes sense. We d-don’t have to f-f-fight for every d-day here, not like we had to b-back home. D-death is s-second to life here, y-yeah? Mueh’zala has l-less of a hold. It’s an adaptation. It’s…” He frowned. “Y-you c-can’t avoid getting m-melded by everything around you. I… I know I’m changing. And it s-s-scares the shit out of m-me.” He nudged Anzeti with his elbow. “I m-mean, I’m s-sitting next to a necromancer.”
Anzeti smiles, but it doesn’t reach his tired eyes. “Yah, well, somebody’s gotta watch out for you, Dash’rak.” He returns the nudge with his elbow. His smile falls. “Necromancy was my trade in Zul’Farrak. I was born into a long family of necromancers an’ taught how to do it respectfully by the Loa, y’know? We did it to protect ourselves. Keep us survivin’. But outside Zul’Farrak, no one really practices necromancy like we do, except maybe the Shadowpine… I haven’t been able to serve by my trade in so long… I think I have to find a new way to contribute here for the long run.”
Dash’rak frowns. “I th-think you should do what you were meant to, Zeti. M-maybe there’s a p-p-purpose for your p-practice here yet. I d-don’t understand necromancy, but m-maybe there’s still a w-way to use your t-trade here for g-good, in a way m-meant for the Clan.”
The older Sandfury nods. “Maybe. Thank you, Dash’rak. Seems I’ve got some thinkin’ to do.”
Things of Note:
- The beach Anzeti finds himself on at the beginning of his dream is one he visited with the Clan for a mission. Anzeti also met Shekk’rik during this expedition, and she’s the first other Sandfury he met in the Clan. Finally, after the mission, Tanakae promoted Anzeti to Ai’shi when the group returned to the beach. Besides the symbolism Dash’rak interpreted, this may be why Anzeti’s brain placed him on this beach to start.
- The baby he found was a Sandfury baby. If Anzeti was paying attention, he would have recognized it as his son, Ruk, who is now 13.
- Did Anzeti have a reason for leaving Zul’Farrak years ago? Yes. At least, he thinks it’s a good reason. But he’s still struggling with a lost sense of purpose as he’s had to largely leave his practice of necromancy behind … Sounds like Anzeti could be going through a mid-life identity crisis.
If you read this whole thing, thank you! :D Hope you enjoyed it.
All credit for the dream interpretation goes to bellsastuff. She came up with it all herself. Very cool and clever and great to play off of!