You’re on a large boat, traveling up a raging river. On the deck, a group of sailors and passengers are dancing on a cleared-out area. The tune they’re dancing to is being played on a fiddle, by a pretty girl you recognize as Telizabet.

The song winds to a close, and Telizabet sets down her instrument and begins to walk over to you. “You’re awake, I see. I rather expected I’d never see you again.”

She gives you a suggestive look. “Perhaps you and I can go belowdecks and I can show you a thing or two” (wink) Without waiting for a reply, she turns about and saunters away from you, disappearing through a doorway leading downwards.

On the other side of the door is a room you remember vividly. A plain, wooden door leads onwards, but between you and it is a dog, whose fur shines a brilliant bronze color. A pair of draconic wings, also bronze, are folded at its side. It stares at you with unblinking eyes, then opens its mouth. “I doubt you’ll recall, but there’s far more to being a warlock than simply making a pact with a greater power. Even if you have the power, harnessing it requires training, and force of will.” The dog turns, and shrugs, as though to indicate you should get on its back.

Surprisingly, you aren’t too big for the dog. You’re certain the dog didn’t grow, and also that you didn’t shrink, but sitting astride the dog feels perfectly natural. It opens its mouth again, and lets forth an arcing ray of electricity. The door explodes in a shower of wooden bits and a cloud of smoke. The dog launches forwards, its wings flapping out to its side as it takes off.

Emerging on the other side of the smoke, you find yourself in a sort of tunnel or canyon. The walls, however, are a mass of cogs and gears, all whirring and spinning, with no end in sight. As the dog propels you forward, you catch glimpses of small, spherical creatures. They have a single eye in the center of their bodies, and they seem to move about the gears, performing various tasks. “Well up your rage and strike one” the dog calls to you over the rushing wind.

The creature explodes in a burst of flame, and is gone.

“Good, now, this time, instead of rage, tap into your bitterness. Draw upon your acrid resentment, the stinging injustices. Now, channel that into your hand, and release it with your eldritch blast. Strike that one, there.”

You release an eldritch blast, not flaming but laced instead with a foul, sulfurous acid. It strikes the target with a brilliant emerald flash, blinding you.

When your eyes adjust, you find that your mount has landed in a peaceful meadow, containing a cozy looking wooden cottage. (If necessary, the mount shifts, indicating that Sardik should get off.) The dog darts off to the cabin, disappearing inside.

On the other side of the door is a room seemingly carved of ebony. A man-sized crystal, covered in glyphs and magic sigils, takes up the majority of the room. The only other inhabitant is Dale, decked out in his red-wizard robes, his brown hair topped by a black bowler. “Now, a somewhat different emotion. Hopelessness. Close your eyes, and summon up all the bleakness and despair that lurks within your soul. Let it wash over you, let it permeate your very soul, and wreathe your body.”

“Good, now, reach out with that energy, and bestow it upon…” he muses “…that.” He points behind you, and when you turn around you see a blonde woman. You remember her hazily, she traveled with you briefly, before you died. The two of you didn’t get along so well. She stands motionless, as though unaware of you.

“Very good, very good.” Dale waves his hand, and the cabin melts around you. Now you stand atop a stone pillar, about 10 feet in diameter. Beyond, you see another pillar, slightly larger, and another larger one beyond that, stretching beyond your sight. Below the pillars is boiling, smoldering lava, an endless sea in every direction. Dale vanishes, and you can see him standing on the next pillar. “Come to me” you hear him say. By the time you reach him, Dale is already gone, off to the next pillar. He seems to be slightly larger, but you cannot be sure. He raises a hand and indicates that you follow. The process continues, Dale growing, his skin darkening to a bluish color, his neck growing long, until he looks like a snake rising out of his own torso. A second head sprouts from the first, until finally you find yourself chasing the demon prince Demogorgon, except that he is clothed in the red robes of thay, and that each of his heads, rather than resembling a baboon, are bear the face of Dale, complete with bowlers. This time, he’s still there when you land. He grins malevolently down at you, and then lashes out, pushing you over the edge. You hear him laugh as you plummet towards the lava. With a start, you awake.


Orbs of the Sun AdamSelene