The Dream was all I had ever known. Filled with memories of others, those that had lived before, gave me the knowledge I needed to know the world around me. And yet this was not the world in which I would come to know, this place called the Dream. It was the waking world I was destined to live, so different from the Dream, so filled with violence and hatred that the dream had showed little of until the time of my waking.
It started with the nightmares. Creatures of thorn and vine that was so unlike the rest of those I had seen and watched. These creatures I could touch, these creatures could touch me in return and hurt. And they did. The Dream had shown them to me before, but nothing could prepare me for how terrifying they were after so long insulated in the hazy world of memories.
I found myself following the voice of another, through the Dream and away from the nightmares only to be led, not into safety, but to a clearing filled with them. I stood shocked as she ran forth, made tangible as I was, closely followed by another I did not know. They fought the nightmares as they called them, hacking at them with blades and magic in ways I had only seen in hazy flashes before. Such horror, not only to be attacked as these things were doing, but to use weapons to cut and mutilate and kill.
I tried to aid them with what healing skills I knew, but when a weapon was put in my hand, I could not stand the touch. They expected me to take up arms against these creatures? They were living, thinking beings! How could they conceive to kill them! It was clear they were following orders, following blindly perhaps, but did they really have to die? I had seen death in the dream. I had seen the vast swathes of mourning over lost loved ones. Who was to say what good these creatures might be brought to do, or who might mourn their passing if their lives were cut short. I could not do it.
Then the true nightmare reared itself up. A great dragon of earth and vine and tree. I looked up at it in awe and fear, but there was little I could do against it, even as the other two hacked at its forelegs. Why did it attack us? I did not know, but could they not feel how wrong it was to be hurting others? Was retreat not an option? The great dragon seemed angry and in pain, and only grew more so as the pair hacked at it as I looked on, unable and unwilling to help them in such an endeavor.
It fell. Such a creature of glory, no matter its purpose, had been killed. Felled, by those saying they were doing good. How could death ever be good?
I woke, confused and angry to the words of others who were likewise baffled by the waking world in different ways. The mentors were all very sure of themselves, but they, like Caithe and the other stranger, seemed determined I should take up the sword or hammer and fight the dragons. Valiant they called me. A wild hunt was my destiny, they said. How could my destiny, the purpose the Dream had been supposedly teaching me about be so at odds with how I feel? I will venture forth into the world, and see what good I can do without this vile urge to kill that so many of my kind, and other races, seem to feel.
It has been several weeks now, and the weight of my duty and that of what the Dream calls on me to do hounds me still. And yet with each passing day, I am more convinced of my belief that killing and hurting others is wrong, the very thing that the Dream tells me I must learn and excel at! I cannot do it!
I will not.
I have taken to doing tasks for others that do not grind away at my will and resolve. I have helped feed moas, build defenses, and encouraged lost hounds to return home. I have picked mushrooms that were needed, help rid an area of harmful plants and cleared an infested area of webs. I have even gone in disguise to a Nightmare Court camp to help weaken their defenses, and offer words of support and care to those trapped there.
Many would see my small acts as being fairly useless, but I have seen the difference that they make. If nothing else, doing these helps ease the burden of the Dream from my thoughts.
I nearly died today if not for a brave soul that came to my rescue. Skritt are, it seems, exceedingly territorial and precious of their various stacked belongings. I won’t forget that lesson any time soon. I think it is time to invest some time in crafting some new armour. Perhaps I could take it up as a profession if I am good enough at it. What better way to help protect others than by making armour?!
Alas, my plans are for naught. I have found, to my horror, that the better armour is made not only with cloth and metal, but also using parts of dead creatures! How can others stand to wear such things when it has the blood of living creatures infused into it, or fangs or venom sacs. I had expected that sort of thing from the Norn race, for they seemed very keen on such disgusting trophies from what I learned in the Dream, but from my own people?!
Never will I wear such things! Never will I create it or buy it. I could not conceive of ever feeling right knowing that I had created or sold things that had body parts stuck to it. Parts of creatures that had once been alive. I feel somewhat sick just thinking about it.
No, I shall not do that. Only the simplest of armour will be the ones that I buy, ones made only of metals.