Nightmares

1627, Sea Season, Harmony Week


Context

Sea Season, Harmony Week, Fireday. In the middle of the night. Swim Roles

Events

During his watch Xenofos checked on Varanis who was thrashing around and whimpering in her sleep. Since she seemed to calm down, he just tucked her in better and returned to his guardpost. After the watch was over he checked on her again.

She is calm now, but also awake, staring up at the stars overhead.

“You are awake, Ranie?” his question is soft like rain that fell earlier.

She turns at his voice. “Yes,” she replies quietly. She sounds as if she’s been crying.1Xenofos passed insight to notice that detail.

“You were troubled in your sleep?” He touches her cheek with back of his hand. “Do you want to talk of it?”

She draws a shuddering breath, then wriggles into a sitting position, wrapping her arms around her knees. She peers up at him through damp lashes before nodding. “Want to sit?”

He gets down, trying to avoid puddles from the recent rain. “Are you cold?”

“A little. The rain.” She leans against him. “I dreamed it again. Drowning.”

He wraps her inside his cloak. “You did fall in the Creek today. And earlier, when I looked on you, you had been doused by rain.”

“I have been dreaming that dream since Wilmskirk. Since the incident with the dream root. I’m going to die by drowning one of these days, Xenofos. Some stupid happenstance will toss me in the water like it did today and I’m going to drown.” The words are rushing out of her, soft, but urgent. He can feel her trembling next to him. “It’s such a meaningless way to go. I know I’m likely to die before I’m old, but drowning…. Vinga, please not that.”

“Hush. You are safe now.” He holds her close to soothe her. “Wilmskirk? That is where I took root and hazia?”2passed int5

She nods.

“But… I took dreamroot. Not you?”

She glances at him and swears softly. “I never told you, did I?”

“What Ranie? Tell me what?”

“I tried to get you out of there. But… it pulled me in instead. I fell in your room and that’s the first time I dreamt of drowning. It was…” She hesitates. “It was pretty bad for a while.”

He remains silent. He does not let go of Varanis but becomes rigid and tense.

“I’m sorry, Xeno. It’s ok. I’m ok. Truly. It’s just a dream.” How rapidly she switches from seeking comfort to trying to offer it.3She didn’t even use the f word.

“You were calling me in the rain, but then thunder covered your calls…”

“Magasta pulled me under. But, I always wake up. Just a stupid dream,” she reassures him.

“I am so sorry Ranie.” he says quietly. “I had no idea what I had done to you…”

“It wasn’t your fault. I’m fine. I… I had a couple of difficult days, but I got better.”4You passed insight earlier…. but you’ve been shaken a little now. Distracted. Roll it again, and just don’t fumble? X: Special… and there is the f-bomb… Insight: she’s holding something back and, you know her well enough to know that she is likely trying to protect you.

“Ranie… You are not telling everything are you?”

She sighs. “It was a very bad few days,” she admits. “I was sick for a time, though I recovered faster than you. Nala brought me to an Earth Temple.”

He is leaning to her now. “I am sorry Ranie, I am sorry…”

“I’m fine. Truly. I’m not afraid of water anymore. Really, the only thing that has lingered is the dream. I think it’s a premonition. After all, since dreaming it, I’ve ended up in the water more times that in all the years since my initiation.” As an afterthought, she adds, “Baths don’t count.”

The voice that comes from Xenofos is quite weird cough, that can happen when silent crying is interrupted by laughter trying to burst out and both getting mixed up. “Ranie…”

She leans into him, seeking and sharing comfort. “Yes?”

“No wonder you have nightmares of water with all your mishaps.” he shakes his head. “But it does not need to be more than reflection of your fear…”

“The dreams are so real. I’ve known since Wilmskirk that was how I’d die. But, I keep fighting it. I thought the sea troll in Nochet was going to be the one. But, I couldn’t just leave Serzeen to it.”

“No, no. We don’t know what happens. It is hidden even from the gods.”

Her trembling has stopped. He can feel her shrug beside him. “As you say.” He can tell she doesn’t really believe it, but she doesn’t seem to want to argue.

He strokes her cheek. “I can’t make you believe me, I suppose. The dead old man from the village was quite real when he talked to me. He was also lying cold and stiff in his own village with two clacks over his eyes…”

She breathes deeply. “It is what it is, I suppose.” Glancing skyward, she adds, “We should try to sleep. You haven’t had the chance yet and Yelm rises too soon. I’ll be ok now. I’m sorry I kept you up. But… thank you for checking on me.”

“You sounded distressed earlier…”

“I suppose I was. But I’m fine now. Just tired.”

“Right. Try to catch some sleep. If you have wet kit, change to dry ones… I’ll sleep too.”

She nods and rolls herself back into her blankets.