The fraying skin of the world

Dreams of our Fathers

Your eyes flash open because you feel the thing standing over you.

The column of white fire is pleasantly warm.

The glow it gives off illuminates a toppled and crumbling stone statue of the Allfather. The cobblestone below you is scarred and cold. The statues of dwarven heroes are silhouetted in the thick darkness that is slowly being dispelled. Behind the figure of Wrack Orebringer figures are moving in the shadow. A black clad woman no taller then four feet is flanked by two burgundy-robed men emerge from the space behind the statue. They walk at a pace so incredibly slow it resembles the thick trickle of a snails slime flowing down a cobbled wall. The room is silent, though the woman, who carries a small boulder the size of her head, appears to be speaking. Bits of wood, the size and shape of a table’s legs shatter against the stone statue and fly slowly through the air colliding with the wall on the far side of the table. A lithe, winged creature flutters from behind the statue carried by enormous ashen red wings. It is naked but for manacles around its wrists ankles and neck. It clutches in its taloned feet a clump of feathers, leaves, and dragon fly wings. Spittle spews from its maw landing on the cowls of the men before it.

The heat is enormous.

The cobblestones are gone and it is dusk. There is hot sand below you blowing in the bitter dry wind. The column of fire, enormous and softly lighting the dim air, floats forward toward a flat an barren plain where several other burning pillars stand in a wide, closed circle. The sand between them coalesces, condenses instantly into a stone disk that rises from the sand and hovers at the height of an enormous table. In a moment the columns of fire flick into darkness and you are alone with the floating stone disk in an endless desert at dusk.

1 In an instant, there are hundreds of things standing, floating, flying, and treading the air as if in water, all surrounding the graying stone. Only 10 stand in a circle directly surrounding the table. When all appear assembled these creatures sit on nothing as if resting on great high backed leather chairs.

You know the one who speaks to be Lord Ao, the being of light. He gestures toward an empty space at the table. “We are assmbled to discuss the PlaneBound, Our Brother Held, Keeper of Keys, the Whispering Chain, The King that Crawls, Lord Torog. Lord Bane, your servant ignores the call?”

Bane stands on one side of the table opposite The Lord of Light. He exudes a darkness that still sheds light. He is flanked by beings that take the form of mortals and shed a similar darkness. “The Chain has been called and abstains from this concordance. He has thrown his lot in with the others. His concern for the balance has all but faded.”

Ao shakes his head. “Then we take action against our Brother. He that fought along side and bound our enemies to their graves during the Dawn, now works against us, though he knows not his allies. We are assembled to hear testimony from The Ear at the Door, the Eyes in the Darkness, The Stilled Tongue, The Bound Tome, the Hand and the Eye, Lord Vecna, and Hestavar’s Queen, The Vast Lagoon, The Sand and Glass, and the Opened Tome, lady Ioun.”

Two creatures, a man and a woman sit across from each other at the table. The woman nods and holds out her hand gesturing to the corpse lounging across the table from her, “it means more coming from him.”

Vecna, reaches out his good hand and retrieves a black egg that he shakes free from empty sleeve of his other arm. He places the egg on the table and it cracks silently. A man lies in the shards of the egg, curled as a foetus in its mothers womb. Vecna’s bony jaw creaks into a smile. “He’ll do the work.”

Ioun shakes her head, “Yaelah, Priest of Lathandar cum Prophet of Vecna.” The beings surrounding the table look down at the man grown fullsize before them and laying prostate. His mouth and eyes are sown shut. His fingers have been bent and broken backwards so they lay flat against the back of his hands, and have been sown with metal filaments through to his palms. A middle aged being with golden hair and yellow robes scoffs in disgust. Vecna turns to him, “Thought him forgotten, didn’t you At’ar? All mine now and he has something very plump for all of you.”

“All ours,” Ioun sighs, and produces a silver blade from her robes, and slices through the sutures at the wretch’s mouth.

Its cooler up here.

You’re not floating so much as falling to earth slower than the most gentle snow flake. Below you there is a city in flames. An army has surrounded the circular walls and is erected siege ladders, they are battering at the gate, and crashing through it. Within the walls the risen dead are struggling to hold the walls while also fighting off hordes of orcs and drow, duerger lizardpeople, kenku, and even a giant floating eye shooting light of of tentacles. There are kobolds and frog people slashing at the unarmed men and women, while bodies of unarmed masses line the cobbled thoroughfare. In the central court yard, hooded men and women in purple robes are linked by a single great chain. The stand before unlit bronze spindly braziers. They are surrounded by creatures battling skeletons and zombies. The creatures are so horrifying that even from this distance waves of revulsion force you to recoil in horror and look up at the five flying boats, covered in silver brine, and crossing the horizon toward the ruins of Bedlam.


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