Friday, January 23, 2009

Whren's Dream (by Ironbeard)

On her first night in Throdenoth, Whren is visited by a very curious dream.

She finds herself walking down a natural cavern tunnel of sort. The walls are of limestone and slick with moisture. Stalactites hang from the ceiling and the tunnel slopes steadily downward. After walking what could be hours, she notices that broken statues lie heaped along the edges of the tunnel. Broken arms, torsos, and heads of marble and granite litter the ground in a chaotic jumble. Pausing to examine the wreckage, she lifts a head and studies it carefully, wiping the grime and filth that obscure its visage. After a few moments, she recognizes the face as that of St. Cuthbert. The deity’s stern countenance stares upward at the tunnel’s ceiling, his expression of admonition directed to no one but the stalactites overhead. Whren lets the head fall back into the pile with an echoing clatter. She suddenly becomes aware of a distinct glow coming from just beyond a bend in the tunnel ahead.

Continuing her journey, she soon enters into a vast underground cavern, the ceiling of which is lost in darkness above her. Before her an enormous pile of treasure rises like some vast sand dune in a far away desert, its upper crest teeters at an impossible height above Whren’s head. The edges of the pile cannot be seen either as it stretches for as far as the eye can see in each direction. The sparkling hill is made mostly of coins, millions and millions of gold, silver, platinum pieces. Uncountable numbers of gemstones of all sorts stud the shimmering vista. Emeralds and rose quartzes, onyxes and moonstones, lozenges of jade and white sapphires, opals, diamonds, golden beryls, and aquamarines all glitter in unimaginable numbers. Half buried and jutting haphazardly from the vast pile, like lost wrecks on a golden beach, countless numbers of handicrafts dot the fabulous landscape. Everywhere that Whren’s gaze lands, a different object tempts her. A silver crown studded with pearls and agates. A richly carved, ivory scepter with an amber head. A chest carved entirely from amazonite feldspar, its surface a richly carved mosaic of birds and feathers. Swords forged of the finest adamantine and bearing guards encrusted with rubies. A solid gold bowl covered in the finest filigree of platinum, its base ringed with amethysts. A marble statue of an elephant, its tusks tipped with balls of solid gold, its eyes blue laced agates. Vases and amphorae, taller than a man, fashioned from the finest ceramics, and containing almonds, nutmeg, orange blossom, and tea. To her left, peeking from the dazzling sea of coins, sits a sparkling decanter carved from a single block of quartz crystal and filled with what must be wine of some rare a highly prized vintage. She sees many rare tomes, their pages made from the finest vellum and illuminated with exquisite artistry, their covers crafted from rare and exotic leathers and embossed with electrum. Strings of pearls, longer than the span of a human’s arms, lie draped over these objects like garland.

As she gazes upon the scene, the glow reflecting from it slowly swells and intensifies to become blinding haze. But though the incredible light now obscures her vision, the glare is not unpleasant. Rather, its warm glow suffuses her with a sensation that verges on intoxication. Slowly, ten points of light begin to emerge from the haze, ten points where the glow seems to have coalesced into pockets of even greater luminescence. What sort of gems could these be? Whren quickly realizes that these gems are in fact eyes, five sets of beautiful female eyes gazing at her from out of the glow. A voice is then heard.

“Look upon it Whren. Is it not magnificent? There is no end to the wealth that can be yours. The world is filled with fools who are too stupid to deserve what they have. Prizes should go to those who are clever enough to take them, do you not agree? I can help you in this endeavor and all I ask is that you make some small contribution to my hoard. Don’t be swayed by others who might tell you that I am evil. I am evil to be sure, but I have little interest in your morality. Ours will be a business relationship. Help me increase my wealth and I will help you to increase yours. Serve me and you will be richly rewarded”
With that the beautiful golden light winks out and Whren awakens in her bed

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