Week 10 - Novel - Dreams Part IV - August 5-11

When they noticed her staring, the boys looked at each other, and then the taller of the two began to walk towards her, with the shorter one trailing closely behind. She felt a jolt of anxiety as they began to approach. Even in her dreams, interacting with people terrified her, it seemed. Elvir had been okay because he had been clearly outlandishly a dragon–but the fact that these boys seemed, apart from their plain and roughhewn burlap clothing, very much like anyone she might encounter her own age in the real world made the encounter that much more real and nerve-wracking.

She determined to stick her ground and do her best to convey an attitude of nonchalance. This was just a dream, she reminded herself.

When the taller boy finally reached her, he spoke with a comprehensible, but very strange accent. If she had to place it, she’d say it seemed like some combination of Scottish-Indian, which is to say it was remarkably outlandish in an exceedingly singular way.

“It’s a large city, and I can’t say I’ve seen everyone, but I’m rather certain you don’t seem to be from around here. Where do you come from?” the tall boy asked in what seemed to be a rather affable tone.

“Um. Chicago?” Jo ventured in reply.

“Chi…cago…” the tall boy mused, trying out the word like a foreign dish. He turned to the shorter boy, who was standing slightly behind him still, peering around his shoulder.

“Tan, do you know where Chicago is? I can’t say I’ve ever heard of it. I’m not really the bookish one, but Tan would know if anyone would.” he asked the shorter boy.

Tan shook his head, remaining silent. If Jo had to guess, it looked like Tan was a pretty shy creature like herself, which put her more at ease and made her like him instantly more.

“I don’t really think I’m from your world. Actually, I think you’re all part of a dream I’m having, to tell you the truth.” Jo admitted.

The taller boy snorted with a laugh while Tan’s eyes widened.

“Us, your dream? I have a bit of a hard time believing that one, considering I’ve been living my life here for the better part of fifteen years already and this is the first time I’ve ever seen you. More likely you’re part of my dream.” the tall boy retorted.

“Ardin, you’re not being productive. Hi. My name’s Tan, and this is Ardin. It’s good to meet you. Can you tell us more about where you’re from and how you got here?” the shorter boy finally spoke.

“My name’s Jo. I’m…not really sure. My best guess, again, is that you’re all a figment of my imagination in my dream. Barring that, I really have absolutely no idea how I keep ending up here. I fall asleep back home, and I find myself here, and then I wake up and find myself back home again. That’s pretty much why I think you’re all part of my dream. No offense.” Jo said.

Ardin scratched his head and Tan frowned.

“That’s incredibly strange. I’ve never heard of something like that before. Have you, Tan?” Ardin asked.

Tan shook his head.

“No…but it’s not outside the realm of possibility. There are still stones we’re still discovering, and we already know onyx can be used by the Tafar to translocate. It wouldn’t be too far of a stretch to imagine that something like this could be done, either intentionally or by accident.” Tan mused.

“Stones? What do stones have to do with anything?” Jo asked.

Tan nodded sagely. “Do you not have stones where you’re from?” he asked.

“No…we definitely have stones. Not huge or elaborate ones like the ones here, but we definitely have stones. I’m still confused what they have to do with anything though.” Jo replied.

Tan seemed to consider this for a moment.

“Are you able to harness your stones?” he finally asked.

“Harness? I’m not sure what you mean. Harness the stones to do what?”

“Various manipulations of the earth, depending on the stone and the host. I take it that you don’t harness your stones, then. That’s interesting. Maybe someday you will. It took us some time before we figured it out, too.”

It was Jo’s turn to frown. All of this was still going over her head, and she was having a hard time trying to understand how exactly her own dreams could be so mystifying to her.

“Can you…show me what you mean?” she asked.

To her mild surprise, Tan actually nodded and took a small stone out of his pocket, about the size of an egg. It was smooth and slightly pale green, and reminded her of jade, though it seemed distinctly foreign in a subtle way she couldn’t quite place.

“Humans can’t typically harness stones natively, unlike some other species. We have to use gear to help us access their power.” Tan explained, as he also pulled out a leather glove with a rigid metal enclosure on the back. He placed the stone into the enclosure, and paused, closing his eyes. After a few moments, Jo could see the stone begin to glow.

Slowly, almost imperceptibly at first, Tan began to lift off the ground. After several seconds, he stabilized at about half a foot off the ground. He then opened his eyes, and fell promptly back to the ground with a sheepish smile. Jo clapped vigorously.

“Wow! So you have magic in this world?” she asked.

Ardin and Tan both laughed in unison. “Magic?” Ardin said. “We don’t have magic, magic isn’t real. This is just simple science.”

Tan nodded. “I wouldn’t call it simple. It took us a few centuries to really start to master it, and I could see how it would look like magic to someone who’s never seen it before. We’re still just really beginning to harness its power and figure out what we can do with it. There have been enormously exciting developments as of late, especially in the field of translocation.”

 
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