The dreamy mist slid around my boots, hiding the cracked, black stone beneath my feet. The rest of the air was tinted white, a fog-like cloud that made the rest of the world invisible. I kicked my foot through the foot-high mist, sending it swirling. So, this was what the dream was like.
You will find yourself in some kind of terrain, and it will reflect different parts of you. Perhaps your personality, or the emotion you most often feel. Tartha’s words echoed through my head, reminding me of the old man who had gotten me here. A friend, now.
Many come here, each searching for their hearts desire. They are in my hands, I try to train them for what is coming. But once they’re asleep, I have no control. Everything will be up to you, especially your life.
The promised terrain was flat, empty, confusing. It couldn’t have been more like my emotions if I had created it. It was dull. It was dark, but I could still see. There were cracks, but somehow it didn’t seem fractured enough. If this was a reflection of my emotions, where were the cutthroat endings, the abrupt shatterings? Where were the precipices that led to emptiness? Where was the brokenness I felt?
This was a reflection of me. My emotions. If my emotions changed, perhaps the endless fog would change as well. Reaching behind me, I pulled out my lute. One strum of the keys showed me that the instrument was perfectly tuned. My fingers plucked at the thinnest string, dancing to a rhythm I had long forgotten. The fingers on my left hand slid fluidly from chord to chord, breaking the silence with a song of mourning. Tentatively, I sang. Words spilled out of my mouth—words I couldn’t understand. Somehow, they portrayed the epitome of sorrow. The saddest song fell from my lips and lute, hurting, breaking—
The mist ahead of me fell away abruptly, streaming downwards like a waterfall. A sudden wind swept the fog from the air, opening my view to a vista of nothingness. I stood on the edge of the cliff, staring at a black expanse of stone stretching forever. I felt panic welling up inside me. This couldn’t be all there was. There had to be more.
You will see what you most want to see. You haven’t told me what it is, which may complicate some things. If you had told me, I could have trained you specifically for the hardships you will face. As it is, I can only hope you are strong enough.
This expanse was wrong. It was. Wrong. Shock coursed through me.
This can’t be all, I spoke for the first time, my voice quiet in the empty air. My chest tightened, a weight settling on me, heavier than bearable. I blinked to clear the wetness in my eyes. A tear escaped my eye anyway, not cold or warm. Why was it empty?
Whatever it is you want to see, move through your land until you can no longer go forward. Then you will see what you want to see.
The wind swept by me again, but I hardly felt it. I screamed at the wind, this isn’t all. This isn’t me. And the wind screamed back. Cold, it screeched heartlessly, Hard.
I shouted now, at the wind, at the emptiness, at the air. I had to be cold! I had to be hard!
But I beg you, Tartha said, tell me what you seek.
The wind reached its peak, thundering around me in a tempest of anger and hate and pain.
I relented, sacrificing a secret. I seek to know what I’ve done. What I’ve been.
This was where I could go no further, this was where Tartha had promised I would see it but I couldn’t! It wasn’t here. I did more than this. I was more than this!
Cold, the wind repeated, Hard.
I had to be hard! I had to be cold. The world made me that way.
I was more than this!
Tartha spoke after a moment of shocked silence. If that is what you wish to see, you seek to your end. You cannot—
I will see it. I will. I must. I managed to keep the pain out of my voice. You’ve asked too much, old man. Say no more. Send me on my way.
Child, you can not—
Send me on my way!
The wind howled, reaching a crescendo that would have fit with the saddest song perfectly. Grief burst in me and I screamed upward at the black world around me. The pain swept out of my mouth along with the scream, filling the wind, chasing it away, forcing it, hurting it. The dream turned to chaos, shaking, cracking, rising, and the cliff was suddenly infinitely high. The clouds were back.
My throat hurt, excruciating pain, and I felt something break inside me. The noise around me froze, turning crystalline, then shattered into silence.
The wind was gone.
The noise was gone.
My lute was gone, the fog was gone, the rest of the world faded away.
Me and the precipice were all. I stood from my kneeling position, stepping once, twice, three times, to the edge of emptiness.
I stepped again. The wind was back, swirling, twisting, faster than ever before, the white clouds spinning across my vision as I fell.
As you wish, child. Tartha said quietly. Lie down.
I did as he told me, laying my head on the floor where he pointed. Tartha lay his fingers on my chest and their weight was strangely soothing.
And I awoke to fog and darkness.
Author Notes: I don't know if this made any sense. It makes sense to me, so if you have questions, please ask them, and I'll edit the story and fix them. Then the story can be good.