Half Shaman, 4

Links to Previous Chapters:

1: Vigil          2: Wake Up Call          3: ArkShip in the Night  

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Last week, after Jeb discovers the ArkShip in the night sky, she works out how to talk to the ship. This section has her dreaming a prophetic dream. Whilst dreaming she needs to learn the difference between Lotor's input and the ArkShip's input. Both try to influence her while she is asleep. 

I've tried to signpost the different modes with italics but wonder if that really works. Let me know in the comments what you think?

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4: The Yellow City Dream

I dream. In the dream I think, when do I not dream? I’m walking in the streets of the Yellow City again. In my reality I’ve never been there. It doesn’t lie along the Great Parallel. In my dreams I’ve been a frequent visitor. 

But only since I have been in the prison, part of my mind reports. How is it possible that I can know that in a dream? I wish I had learned more in the shaman school. 

Lotor learned about yellow dye from a settler, how to make it from onion skins. From then on every Lotor-born grew onions and made yellow dye. Hundreds, maybe thousands of yellow flags decorated every house, every building, even every arch in the Yellow City. That is the story people tell. 

I turn a corner, then another. It seems that the city is empty now of all the people who are usually on the streets with me. When I dreamed it previously, the city was always bustling with market stalls and vendors. People were friendly though they were Lotor and unfinished-looking. Their eyes were all mud-brown, the same as the houses. Their head-hair was sparse and fine, they didn’t have eyebrows or lashes, making them look like babies. In the dreams I was getting used to them.  

Them all gone seems impossible. How long would this dream be after the previous time I dreamed the Yellow City? Stupid. Dreams don’t follow historical time. Most of the walls I come by, are crumbling. The yards they enclose are dusty. Empty. They give the impression the emptying happened a while ago. 

Then I dream, even the guards in my waking reality are starting to look real. I’m looking from a dream back into reality? Impossible. 

Abruptly I am pulled up from the street. That’s what it feels like. As if someone didn’t like what I was thinking and pulled me out. 

I’m flying? More a sliding. My clothes aren’t sagging down as if I’m in the air. I’m sliding along a thick layer of … 

Bright doors here and there make the empty-city idea a lie. Those I must investigate, something tells me. It tries to distract me. At the opposite edge of the city, a stone house sits in a large enclosure. A pair of people, man and woman, tend a garden of lush vegetables. Nearby is another stone house, also in a yard. A family of girls keeps a home under a grape arbour. They all must be gathered in. I need their …

There’s a derelict tower ahead, half-painted with a rose tint. The yard at the base, and the house, are also both empty.The tower invites me and I glide in through a window opening. 

The inside of the tower is lined with ten-cubes, the stones the settlers used for their buildings. 

Up to now, the light of the dream-day is yellow and kind. In the direction of sundown I see the backs of the departing population, the Lotor-born, walking somewhere, a column like a river winding among the sand-hills beyond the city. Bring the rest of the fugitives and come … 

I shiver. Lotor had me sliding along a thick layer of Lotor water. I fill in Lotor’s missing words, I need their energy. I start to fight my way down through the jellified water, to ground level. I want to wake up.

Dark flames engulf the city. Black smoke roils into the red sky. Spurts of pain sting my arms and legs as if I am beset by embers and I start to burn from the inside out. My mouth hangs open in a long scream. 

A vibration starts in my mind that reminds me of the trilled words in a totem song. It feels like … a signalling. I swallow but the burring buzzing doesn’t stop. When Lotor sends her dreams to me I feel them with my body. This is different. Words form in my mind. Making sung sentences. 

Go to the tower. The tower, the house and the walls enclosing the yard, are all of stone. There you will be safe. From the tower you can see the path into the mountains. 

Lots and lots of variations thereof. 

Then I do wake up. To be safe from Lotor’s hunger, the settlers built their towns of stone. Houses, floors, streets all of ten-cube stones they cut from Lotor’s waste mountains. Lotor wove a dream and almost caught me. She wove a net and almost had me. 

But then there was the different bit, at the end. 

I shiver so hard that I’m cold in a minute. I wrap myself head to toe in the blanket and scrunch up on the mud-brick bed. The cell is white-washed mud-brick. No getting away from Lotor in here. 

***

Tayne the Sea Eagle still snores. Goosebumps down my back, not only from the cold. The dream, so real. The minute we entered Shaman School, the warnings began. Lotor sends dreams. She will try to catch you anyway she can. My heart flutters. In the dream Lotor had about a hundred OldEarth-born for me to gather up. That frightens me almost more than anything. Fifty outside, according to Tayne. 

How gather them up, with me in here? 

It’s just a dream. As meaningless as the nightly dream about the well.

Not meaningless. The Head Shaman warned us again and again, the dreams lay out an alternate reality you will begin to believe. She will get you accustomed to her ideas by repetition. 

But the end? Remember the end? I remember the vibrations in my mind and what they resembled. The drawn-out words in a totem song. A signalling. Sentences. Sung. A song. What they said. Go to the tower. The tower, the house and the walls enclosing the yard are all of stone. There you will be safe. From the tower you can see the path into the Mountains. 

I want to trust them. It didn’t sound like Lotor talking. 

The shadow that is my former self sits like a crow in my belly, eating me. Go away. I remember the reflection of the ArkShip faraway in the night sky. The crow tells me the risks. What if you ready every man, woman and child for the event, and it isn’t our Ark? What then? 

We’ll … we’ll … I don’t know. There never was a back-up story. I breathe deep, many times. Begin to hyperventilate. Dizzy in the head. There is no back-up story. There can be no back-up plan. 

Meaning, I think after a while, I don’t … I don’t need one? Lotor will take care of us, if our ArkShip can’t? 


Don’t got there. I will not think that far. I will not. 

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