Sunday, June 10, 2012

Dreamtime Dreamscape: Elements Fire and Water

This is a long dream, as often happens on Sunday mornings when I sleep in, my mind generates a long dream that could easily become it's own story if I fleshed it out. Once I finish my other novel, perhaps I'll put this one into a novel format. I realize it has similarities to Avatar: The Last Airbender, but differences as well. I've dreamed a lot about the four elements, so it's not an uncommon theme, even before the awesome TV show.

The world was made of mostly water. There were four kinds of people, one for each element. The world was dying.

The dream started on a ship filled with the fire people. They were ruled by a stubborn king, who was tired of the constant battles they had with the people of earth and air, but he could see no alies. No one had seen the water people in generations. The legends spoke of them, but no one had ever seen one. It was believed that the water had risen when the last of the water people died.

The ship was the last fire people ship, and it wasn't even theirs. It had symboles and buttons and slots all around the ship, but no one knew what they were for. My character, a girl (I will name her Jill) was an orphan that the king adopted in hopes that having a female in the royal line would strengthen the line. There were two sons, James and Joseph (making up the names on the fly here).

The ship was enormous, like an aircraft carrier size. It was black metal, the same metal that made up the swords the fire people used.

Their swords had thick handles of black metal, and a fire person could focus their powers on the handle and create a broad and thick blade of red hot light, out to the metal tip that was pushed out of the handle when the blade was activated. It was rumored that the ships and the swords were created by fire people, but no one knew for sure.

Jill was a scholar more than a fighter. She wanted to learn what the symbols were on the ship and had spent most of her life trying to find their meaning. She had found slots that fit the fire swords perfectly, but they didn't work. She was also interested in a semicircle of metal different than the rest of the ship. It was located right below the front mast of the ship, between the mast and the first of the giant smoke stacks. The smoke stacks didn't actually work. Though the ship moved forward, it didn't use the original engines. No one knew how to use them, so other means were used.

Her brothers were mighty fighters, like their father was. Broad shouldered from years using the fire blades, they looked like brutes, but they were smart and kind to their little sister. They also knew, eventually, one of them might have to marry her. She was adopted so her blood wasn't theirs, and there were few fire people left. All three knew this, and though Jill opposed the idea, the brothers always kept it in mind. They treated her as one would treat a potential wife. It bothered her. She thought of them only as brothers.

One night while she was on the top deck, looking at one of the sword slots yet again, the air people attacked. They could fly though the air and by attacking at night, they could not be seen easily. Her brothers tried to save her, but they were overrun. She was grabbed by one of the air people and taken hostage.

She did not want to be taken hostage, of course, and fought her captors on the way to their fortress, which her people assumed was in the sky. The air people were a mystery, all wore long cloaks made of reeds that covered their faces and body. No one had ever seen an air person, even when they were killed in battle, other air people would quickly take the body and fly away with it. It was suicide to fight the air person who carried her, she would fall if she broke free, but she could not be taken prisoner. She knew too much of her people and of the ship.

They had flown into the clouds when the grip of her captor was broken. She fell. The air person tried to follow, but she fell too fast. Jill had the foresight to swing her body around into an arrow shape so she hit the water cleanly. The impact nearly killed her, and it broke her fingers and forced the air from her lungs. Her last thoughts were that she had at least become free of the air people, and the ship was safe.

She woke in a dark place. It was damp. She could hear moisture dripping off the walls. She opened her eyes to find herself on a bed. She was in some kind of cave, lit by blue lights mounted on the walls. Her hands were bandaged and she wore a plain blue dress in a soft fabric she'd never seen before.

The writing on the wall made it clear where she was. She knew the script from the looping language found on the ship. Everyone else had told her the loops carved or made into the ship's metal were just designs, but Jill had always thought they were writing by the water people. It made sense to her that the fire and water people had worked together ages ago to make the ship. She had hypothesized that when the air people started attacking the others, the two remaining tribes had joined together to make the ship to keep the fire people safe. Something had happened to the water people, perhaps it was as the legends said and they all died, but raised the water level across the world in the process, or perhaps the water people just went into hiding. Jill was alone in her thinking that the water people were alive. No one else believed her theory.

Now she was with the water people. She hadn't seen a single person but she knew it to be true in the bones of her body. The script on the walls confirmed it. She only wished she knew what the writing said.

The door to the cave opened. She realized she hadn't even seen the door, the lights were dim except around the writing, so she hadn't exactly looked around.

A trio came through. Two brothers and a man who must be the king. It stunned her how similar it was to her own people. The brothers were thin and lanky, and they wore the handles of swords like those the fire people used, though their metal wasn't in nearly as good of a shape. Their handles were pitted with rust and age. All three had gills in their necks and webbed fingers. They wore skin tight clothing in blues and purples, though the king wore a cape of living green kelp.

She was drawn to the brothers, and she spoke to all three of them of the plight of her people. The brothers listened, and only one showed any desire to help. Henry, the eldest, did not see any point to helping the fire people, while Patrick, the youngest, wanted to help.

She spent a few weeks in the water kingdom, learning how to read their language and learning as much as she could. She also spent a lot of time with Patrick. He was a good warrior, but as her brothers had their gentle side, Patrick did as well. She was drawn to him. Henry fell immediately into the brother category, but Patrick did not. She knew she would be his wife, even if he did not know it.

They would have been content to stay underwater and send Jill back to the surface unharmed until they were attacked by air people, who had learned how to create bubbles of air long enough so they could attack. Jill pleaded to the king that she be allowed to go back to her ship to see if her people would help the water people. He allowed it, and sent Patrick with her.

Once on the ship, her father and brothers thought that Patrick had been the one to capture her. They were mad with grief and wouldn't listen to Jill. Patrick was sent to the jail cell inside the ship. At the same time they were attacked by the air people, who had followed Patrick and Jill as they had sped through the water. With a battle going on, her brothers couldn't listen to Jill, they didn't have the time.

She realized quickly this wasn't just a normal air people attack. It was an all out war. They were leaving their dead on the deck of the ship, and more were coming with a storm that was sweeping over the water. Had they learned how to harness a storm as well? It only reinforced the belief in James and Joseph that Patrick had allied with the air people and had created the storm to wipe out the last of the fire people.

Jill knew she had to do something. She tried her best to help with the fighting, but she was no warrior. She could use only the most rudimentary fire skills. Instead her eyes were drawn to the writing along the ship, which she now understood. The words were simple. Weapon, healing, defense. Each slot looked like it fit the water sword, not the bulkier fire blades.

She weaved around fighting, ducking away and dodging around groups that fought each other. She had to find where they put the water sword! The ship began to sway with the strong winds, making the way even more difficult. Determinedly, she clung onto the floor of the ship, digging her hands into the carved letters and raised areas on the ship. She realized that perhaps the bumps in the floor that had always been a nuisance were there for a reason, to keep people able to walk along the ship even when it was tilting from side to side.

She made it to the king's chamber at the front of the ship and despite protests from the king, she took Patrick's confiscated weapon. She told him she would prove to everyone that the water people would help them. The king, being stubborn and proud, did not believe her.

Her hands were shaking as she flipped on the water blade. It was the first time she'd seen one activated. Despite the rust, it was a thing of beauty. In her hands it felt like it belonged there. The blade was made of blue light, the tip looked like an octopus' tentacle, it was a thing of beauty. She knew a little of sword fighting and used it to clear as much of a path as she could manage to the first slot. Joseph saw her, and did not ask to help, but protected her as she slammed the sword into the first sword slot.

It fit, perfectly. The ship righted itself, despite the waves around it, and it felt like it rooted itself in the water. It still pitched and rolled, but it was less out of control. It gave the fire people a slim advantage, the air people had been winning because they could fly. Now the fire people could root themselves on the ship to do their attacks.

Encouraged, Joseph conceded that she perhaps knew what she was talking about, and helped protect her to the next slot. When she slammed the blade into it, the deck of the ship shifted. It split apart and between the splits were glowing blue lines. Once the movement was done, the deck was larger, wider, and interlaced with the blue glowing lines. She took only a moment to see the one closest to her and saw the lines were tubes filled with blue, thick water. It glowed for some unknown reason. She knew Patrick would know.

Joseph told her to get Patrick, to save him and figure out what to do. The air people were relentless, and the fire people would be wiped out if any more of the fighters died. Time was not on their side.

Jill ran as fast as she could and reached the jail. Patrick saw her harried look and took only a moment to embrace her. It bolstered her confidence and the feeling that she would marry Patrick. Being in his arms, even for that moment, had felt like home. She didn't dwell on the feeling, instead she all but dragged him to the deck of the ship.

Patrick took in what was happening in seconds. The blue lines, he said, were filled with a type of water that he could use to attack. It was something he'd only seen a half dozen times. No one knew how to make the thick water anymore, there was precious little of it left. He went to the closest line and drew the water up and around his arms. It curled around them in thick ropes, extending to his hands where they formed weapons. Jill only had to point out which were the air people before he attacked. The water extended his arms and flowed with him like it was a part of him. When a portion of the thick water was taken off his arms, more would flow from the nearest line to his leg, then swirl up his body to join what was around his arms. It was as if it were alive.

Jill had only one last slot to put the water sword. Patrick and Joseph both protected her as they made their way along the ship. She only half listened to their banter, it was as though they were good friends for years, but whenever they spoke of her, she heard the love in both their voices. She had never known Joseph had loved her, but she knew he did. He had truly wanted to be her wife, not out of duty, but out of love. It made her heart sink in her chest knowing that she would break Joseph's heart.

They made it to the last slot, the one in front of the semi-circle of smooth metal behind the main mast. This one was different. As she slid the sword into position, it jolted her. She felt fire and coolness flow through her body. It was painful and soothing at the same time.

There was a deep rumbling in the ship. The semicircle broke into two sections and the floor split, sliding under the rest of the deck. It revealed a deep semicircular pool of the blue glowing liquid. It was a deep pool, beautiful in it's simplistic design. None of them knew what it was for.

It opened up more slots for the sword, however. She could see them, they were lit along the ship. Both brothers, both who loved her equally, told her to leave them to protect the blue pool while she put the sword into the new slots. She knew she would never see one of them alive again. The air people saw the pool and were focusing their attacks on it. She saw James running to aid his brother as she ran the other way to complete the cycle of the ship. She saw water people, leaping from the waves onto the ship to fight. She saw the clouds break and saw a giant fortress bigger than the ship itself riding on the storm clouds. She saw land, one of the few islands in the vast sea, near them through a crack of lightning.

She ran, sliding on the slick surface of the ship, and slammed the sword into the slots on the ship and prayed she would see her brothers, both fire and water, together alive at the end. She did not know. She could feel the water powers nestled in her breast next to her fire ones. The shock the blade gave her had put the powers there. She could not use them. Not yet. But she would. These were all her people now.

And then I woke up. Perhaps another night I'll dream the rest of this story...

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