Reve stories: OmikoIntroduction (stats)
Water and Fountain
Water and Berries
Water and Swamps
Background: The first dream Omiko can remember is her standing in the middle of a huge plain with countless onlookers of all races. She had to perform or else something terrible would happen. The next morning some monks from the monestary came by and she was enrolled in a special training class.
The empire of Susju is considered by its citizens to be the epicenter of culture, with the huge city of O in the center. Bordered in the west by the endless Ocean, in the north by the Heaven Mountains, in the east by the Forever Forest, and in the south by the Desolate Desert, it is clear that no other cultures can exist, so there is no reason to wander. Sometimes strangers come. They tell weird tales and have odd customs. It is only by the edict of the first Emperor that they are left alone, but everybody is relieved when they leave again.
In the middle of O stands the imperial palace. Huge and grand, with more rooms than one can count, yet not as impressive as the gardens. People are lost when they enter there, or are found dead because the were so smitten with the beauty that they forgot to eat and drink. Only the blind gardeners roam freely.
On her seventeenth birthday Omiko was summoned to the palace to perform, as the emperor had heard of her training with the sword dance. She was very nervous as she tought her skill not high enough to perform for such an august person, but the abbot told her that 'Things will work out as they should'.
She was so focussed on her performance that she did not even glance at the gardens, let alone stand in amazement for the prescribed 5 minutes. The court was in shock and only the intervention of the head gardener changed her penalty from beheading to the command 'to find a place more beautifull then the O gardens': effectively banishment.
For five years Omiko roamed Susju. Mountains, forests, and dessert she crossed, but no view was grand enough. The ocean was no option, as the people of Susju had no ocean going vessels: what would be the point, as there was no other side.
On her 22 birthday she decided that no such place was to be found, and she returned to O to accept her penalty. As she came near the city an early evening mist came up. She walked through the gates and streets she should know, but by the time she should have been at the palace gates, nothing remained.
She walked through a shadowy world, only to arrive in an old decrepid city somewhere. Since then she continued her journey to find a her grand vista, earning her keep by performing and sometimes fighting - and still she dreams of her final performance.
Description: Omiko is beautifull, and gracefull with a pleasant address, but also focussed on her skill and a bit distant. She is normal size for a Susju woman, but journeyers would find her fairly short. Her extensive training and subsequent wandering left her with little appreciation for subtle food.
The monks tough her the basics of many sciences, as 'doing without knowing is as bad as knowing without doing'. They concentrated on writing as the basis of knowledge and plants as the basis of health.
Swords and Trade: Omiko is not a 'warrior', fighting is not her trade, but she does wield her paired swords well. Her performance of the sword dance with her tasseled swords can be beautifull, but she is well aware that she has far to go. The swords themselves are stored together in one scabard: they have the reach of a dragon-sword, but are slightly more vulnerable than a longspar. These flexible blades are slashing swords, trusts should only be made against soft targets.
Spells: Dreaming the right dreams was important for the monks, yet she was tought only the basics of 'dreaming awake'. Finding aura's and analyzing them were the only skills she had time to learn. On her travels she discovered that help is always available to a high dreamer... for a price, and that she was capable of enhancing a healing drought with the power to stop poisons and illness.
Water and fountains
Just a simple inn, but with rooms. Luxury. A bed and a chest, and a dream of water. As dreams are, this one turned out to be 'real'. 4 beds, 4 chests, and some rapidly sinking equipment of people who had equipment in their room, but not in the chest. We all made it so shore, even after I bumped my head and somebody else rescued his sinking package, mostly thanks to Paul Jonas.
I sat on the shore wrapped in dry clothing, waiting until my stomach had calmed down. The 'glow' of a dream exit was nice: it was clearly moving as lots of things fell through, including a haystack and a cow. The others were upset when it decided to swim to the other side of the lake, but were happy when a basket with eggs splashed down. As the glow toned down, the swimmer, Paul, started to give orders to set up camp. He's probably right, but he's quite impolite. The other man, Urias Tors, is much nicer. The third person is a woman. Not a good swimmer, but very good in lighting fires.
I almost went to help when the last object fell through. A Book! I immediately dived in to retrieve it. Paul made nasty remarks about using the pages as fire starter, he's a barbarian! We cleaned up, made some food and tried to find civilization.
The group is fairly well versed in all the skills needed to survive, but Paul likes to decide what happens and when. The others do not protest, so I will wait and see - see what is there? Healing herbs. You never have enough of those. The book, by the way, is some kind of treatise on language. Fairly interesting although moving though woods and hills leaves little time for study and none, alas, for training.
After a few days we say smoke and found a woodburners oven. There has to be a village nearby, we just have to follow the trail. We arrived at a small village with stone/wooden houses and an odd stone frog fountain - dry. We where welcome in the journeyers hall, although I do not think they see strangers often.
The whole village was looking forward for the next day, when a 'volunteer' would try to activate the fountain, using the right words. This ritual happened as long as people could remember, and afterwards the unlucky person would be bombarded with rotting fruit and other garbage, for nobody remembered the words.
The Mayor was fairly unhappy: his son, a big but slow fellow, was to be the yearly volunteer. His son was also going to get wedded that same day and the father found this start of the wedding inouspicious.
As a true volunteer could replace the one appointed by lot, Paul started to negotiate - badly. Five Sol was bid by the father, but Paul held out for ten. This went about as well as his trying to sell a show given by him and Urias. Selma did the smart thing and went to sleap early and I went to visit the fountain and the nearby hut. In the hut was a stone plaque with an odd script. I had never seen it before, but glancing through the book it seemed that this language was mentioned. Lucky me. It is a good idea I kept it with me all the time, because Paul would either use it as a firestarter or sell it for some meagre profit.
Our Sergeant Paul really wanted ten Sol, or at least a horse, which I was sure a village of this size never could afford, so I volunteered myself, getting the group exactly nothing. I'm sure there's a proverb about this.
After some study through the night I managed to decypher the command to activate the fountain. My trying to understand the fountain and script clearly indicated that it had to be cleaned, so I used lots of soap (and bubbles) before speaking the command. After that Urias and I danced on the wedding and I performed a simple sword dance which was well received. Paul was very practical and arranged for food for the trip to the nearest town. I really have to counter balance his greed.
Water and berries
The trail is clear, but none tot wide. Few people travel this path, so we kept up our speed and made long days. Alas, not enough time for some serious training - I really need a work-out.
After almost a week we finally arrived at Vleval, a little crossroad village. We took the road towards the river and ferry, but not before I gave my money to the village idiot - after all, the weak of mind are touched by the gods. To my amazement the sergeant hardly reacted, but Urias was upset and he bickered with me till we reached the ferry.
Three other people, Journeyers by their garb, were also waiting. A young girl was sitting dejected on some cargo, but two men paid us some attention. One was clearly a warrior, or at least that was part of his trade, as he wore a brigantine armour, shield and mace. A big fellow with a rought but open countenance. The other was more of an enigma. Leather coat and hat, and carrying a crossbow, he's not a fighter and his aspect is a bit 'dark'. Urias nagged me that I should have a conversation with the waif as I 'was so taken with the down and out'. He did pay for my crossing, though.
The ferryman was a bit DEAF. Yes, that bad. We went on board and waited to get to Novillet, a traders town on the other side of the river. Mr.Crossbow went to talk up the girl, while I waited till Urias had finished his comments on my life style. Then the girl stood up and just jumped overboard. Just like that. I was stunned for a moment, but Urias immediately jumped after her.
The warrior was busy strippping of his armour while Selma and I made a grab for the same rope. As Urias had not surfaced yet, I took one end and made a running jump for their locations as the ferry moved on. The jump distance was excellent, but I had not enough air to swim beneath the others. As I surfaced I heared the crossbow fellow yelling to the ferryman to stop, while I saw Selma hanging onto the rope and the soldier jumping into the water. The flow of the river was treacherous, but we managed to reach Urias as he finally surfaced with the girl. Selma had some difficulty in pulling us in, but with the help of the other guy, we finally climbed on board.
Arriving on the other side, we went for the first inn we saw. The landlady started talking prices, but when I offered to perform she changed her tack. I would receive a small percentage of the profits, but she would give the group free room and board. I accepted and the warrior, Revox, helped me to create a stage from 4 of the tables, while Selma cared for the girl, whose name was Nineth.
With Urias walking through town trying to storm up some intrest for the performance, the rest of the group dried their clothing and warmed themselves in front of the fire. I overheard a comment from Revox to his traveling partner - called Conicio - that made me think. Could he be a high dreamer? I will ask when the situation warrants it.
Selma put Nineth in bed to sleep before dinner and stayed there. We agreed that somebody had to stay with her at all time. Then Conicio took over while I figured out the space and footing. Still an hour to go before dinner, I went up to try and read my book, but I lacked concentration and Nineth and her unkept clothing kept me from getting into it.
Dinner was simple and I ate light. Performance time arrived and Urias tried to excite the crowd, but it did not connect. I started out simple with the Snake to show people what to expect and then continued with the Falcon. The first dance was good but the second - I almost caught my foot on a ridge, was off beat etcetera. I quickly continued with the third, the Spider in a simplified form, which went exactly as it should. Then I called a break. In the second part Urias and I did a 'Torro'. Not so much style but lots of action. The crowd clearly liked it. As finale I solicited a free form, animal to be named by the guests. There were several suggestions, until the landlady trumphed them by ordering the Unicorn. Phooeh. Using Selma and Revox as female beauty and male agression I started slowly - and badly, as I could only use a single sword. My movements around both proxies went very well, however, so the whole dance was well received. Urias tried to mingle and get the people to stay some longer, but I cleaned up and went to sleep.
Early next morning I was up and about for some serious practice. Revox and Selma did some warming up, but I went for all the mishaps of last night. I think I at least solved a few, so I was in a much better mood when breakfast time arrived. Oddly enough, Conicio and Nineth came down the stairs together and there was clearly something between them. No, nothing amorous, yet still... I asked what he had done, and when he denied, what he had seen. In a way probably not recognisable to a true dreamer he told that he had scanned her aura and that she indeed was invaded by a Despair. He even suggested that he could try to banish it, but it seemed like a pretty powerful one. He then told the group that he would accompany Nineth to Polychromacs, a high dreamer living on the other side of the river, and to find some Roundabigs berries. I had actually heard of them, nice and sweet.
Urias had 'suggested' that he was willing to carry our 'shared' income and as he did this during my training I just consented. We got 30d. Not bad. And as nobody really seemed to mind a detour before we went for Tourmaline (the big city down stream), we all went with the ferry back - and yes, Nineth was not allowed near the side by the watchful Selma and Revox.
On the other side we went back to Vleval, were I had to meet the parents of the idiot. They thanked me profusely, and I had to drink some herbal tea, or herbal water, I could not tell the difference. Anyway, they pointed me towards some bushes in the direction of some other village, but they also mentioned 'the old village'. Odd. As Nineth grew more and more agitated we went in that direction, but the only berries we found were bitter and, according to Conicio, only usable for making certain alcoholic drinks.
We eventually reached the next village, well, hamlet, and they told us that, yes, Polychromacs lived nearby on the top of a hill next to a spring ("He's a nice fellow, no words against him, and he helps people, but he is a bit odd") and that, yes, Roundabigs only grew in a deserted village some distance away; but beware: the village had been hit by a plague decades ago and since then nobody went there. So we did.
While we got closer to the village, Nineth got the shakes which forced both Selma and Paul to stay close. Some of the others started to look around, searching for... what exactly? It is nice and quiet.
The village consists of ruins and some heaps of stones which are not yet overgrown. There are also lots of Roundabig bushes on one side, so I took of my hat and started collecting. Urias and Conicio walked with me, while the others stayed with Nineth. No shortage of berries. I wondered why they had not been eaten by birds until two Ferracats jumped for my throat.
I heard scratching sounds as some others tried to climb on Urias, but I was busy moving aside and grabbing my swords. With a huge yell Revox came charging in and I executed a beautiful diagonal slash - very difficult to dodge, but it still did. A limp form flying over indicated that Urias was doing oke. Revox started to help Conicio which had three of those creatures trying to climb up, while I tried to keep them at bay and a second yelp meant Urias was keeping score nicely. Then Revox helped me with one already halfway up and I did an inverse butterfly parry to stop the other one ripping my eyes out: a tricky maneuvre but one of the few you can do in front of your face without loosing your nose. As it was the only one left at that point, it ran away for the biggest ruin.
We searched the ruins and found a cellar in the biggest ruin. Revox and Urias went in and dispatched the last Ferracat. It was a mess downstairs with no usefull stuff, but Selma and Paul helped me to lift the fireplate and we found quite some money. Everybodies spirits went up, except Nineth of course.
Back to the village and on to Polychromacs, whose hut indeed stood next to a spring on top of the hill. When I knocked he rudely yanked open the door and started a tirade - for about three seconds; then he saw my hat filled with berries and his demeanor changed totally. He invited us in, offered us something to drink, and was totally willing to help remove the Despair from Nineth. He was impressed when Conicio could tell him (after some proding from my part) its strength and where it was anchored. Removing it was done in a very short time and the change in Nineth was astounding: smiling and talkative. Nineth then asked Polychromacs if he could teach her, as she had dreamed of his ramshackle hut for a long time. He, however, told her that each dreamer had to find her own path, but that he would allow us to look at his dream-stones: seven stones, each with a clear draconic sign. Conicio and I took turns in trying to find the right terrain for each sign, so Nineth did not had to work hard. Conicio and I both did pretty well: I understood more, but he understood deeper. With this we left for Novillet to continue for Tourmaline.
Water and Swamps
Back to the river and the Ferry, where we met another Journeyer. Paul took the effort of being a total barbarian (as if I did not know this already) and Urias was totally posessive - especially after the man made a beautiful sketch of me. I kicked Paul after he realy crossed the line of acceptable behavior and we had a shouting match on the ferry; even the ferryman noticed. My voice gave out before Pauls, so his male pride was saved. Revox just looked at us and seemed to have the time of his life.
After a late breakfast in Novillet, took the road to Tourmaline. I thought about suggesting to try and get a boat downriver, but my throat is not upto another fight with sergeant Paul. We travelled along the river for a bit, but then the road went into the hills and away from the water. Paul put us on his usual forced march speed, and Andrew, who also wanted to visit Tourmaline, had to struggle to keep up. The poor guy had been taken apart by Paul, who had tried to find skills he deemed neccessary for the group, and he had been flagged 'hardly useful'.
At first camp we fouraged - quite successful, but our noble leader was so upset by the time taken that he decided that we should live of our stores. We kept looking for interesting herbs, but there was nothing to be found. Andrew is odd - each morning he looked like he had been drinking heavily the night before, but he swore that he does not. He also kept complaining about dreams he couldn't remember. Is he a budding high dreamer? If so, I've got no idea how to help him.
A few days and we got higher and higher, with Paul and Urias in the front, the others behind them and Andrew, me and Revox bringing up the rear. The ground became fairly rocky and Andrew spotted some Murus growing 15 foot up on a rocky spike. Paul disliked us climbing up, suggested throwing a rope around it - he's so not into botanics. Then Andrew showed that Paul was at least a bit right about him: our new co-journeyer showed he had a bow all along and when I exploded told that we hadn't asked him about that. Ugh, men!
Revox and I tried to climb up, but we couldn't get beyond 6 or so feet, but Urias just clambered to the top. From there he could tell the we were near the highest point of the road and that it was mostly downhill from here. Andrew made a refreshing tea, using some of the Murus and it did help.
Over the next few days we got down to the plains again, but then we got a whiff of a swamp - blech. We decided to stop early and prepare for an early start as to spent as little time in there as possible.
The next morning Andrew was in a bad shape - worse than usual. It seemed like an alergic reaction of sorts: his nose was running and his eyes were red. We left quickly anyway, the sooner we had crossed this swamp, the happier we were all going to be.
As usual we kept a look out for herbs; in this case Ortigal, both the
common and black variant. Revox, bringing up the rear as usual, saw some
near a pool. Swamps being swamps, I asked for a rope knotted around my
waist as a carefuly made way towards the patch. I just started cutting
it loose as something wrapped itself around my leg. Revox immediately
pulled in the slack as I dropped my knife and the Ortigal to get my swords.
I got in one slash, but did not manage to cut it, before it started to pull
me toward the pool. Paul and I yelled 'Pull' to Revox at the same time: I was
thrown off balance, but did stay out of the water. I tried to cut it again
at the same spot as Paul waded towards me, but missed. Whatever it was, it was
not letting go until Urias started pulling to. With a snap the 'tentacle'
broke and I was yanked into the swamp. Paul pulled me out: a few bruises from
the thing and the rope, and missing both my knife and the herbs, but it
could have been much worse... I hate swamps.
For all his hateful comments, I must admit that Paul did come to the rescue - will I ever understand them?
... more later ...