Surviving Fate

So It Begins...

You stand in a rocky barren land, thunderclouds darkening the sky overhead. Everything around you seems to have a grayish tint, including the ancient mansion in front of you. A tall brick wall surrounds the courtyard, but the gate is missing. With that exception, everything seems to be in fine repair, especially once you step through the gateway and into the courtyard itself.

Color assaults you. All that was drab a moment before is now bright, brilliant. Grasses seem greener than should be possible. The dark thunderclouds overhead give sharp contrast to the shockingly blue sky you can see behind them. The bricks of the walls around you seem to emanate red somehow. The only true mar to the scene is the obvious emptiness of the two pedestals flanking the doorway into the manse itself. You know that something should be sitting on them, guarding entry. Still, nothing is there now, and the door is invitingly ajar, so enter you do.

Just inside the door is an expansive foyer leading into a long hall. Doors line the walls, but all of them you try are locked. And, strangely, no matter how far it feels you’ve come, the end of the hallway never seems to get any closer. Eventually, though, it is before you; a large set of double doors made from dark oak wood. You reach out to take the brass handle, but as your fingers brush it, the door creaks slowly open.

The room within is a grand dining hall, easily large enough to seat hundreds, perhaps even a thousand or more. However, only twenty people are here now, counting yourself. Seated at the head of the central table is the host, a tall, ethereal man with pale white skin and matching hair and robes. Across from him, at the foot, is a beautiful woman, with the same pale skin as your host, but hair as black as his is white, and dressed in clothes to match.

You recognize one other, for sure. Your divine parent sits across from the one open chair at the table and gestures for you to take the seat. Along your side, others sit, young and seemingly normal. Along the other, strangeness abounds. It strikes you that perhaps the other beings there are Gods as well, and perhaps the fellows you are sitting yourself by are Scions like yourself. The realization comes with no surprise, nor amazement, but simply knowledge.

As you take your seat, the room suddenly feels small, cozy, and intimate. You notice that a feast is laid out along the table. Your host stands and smiles, and though he speaks quietly, you find you can hear him perfectly well. “Good. We are all here,” he says. “Before we get started on business, eat! Drink! Relax, and let no worries trouble you here.”

You find yourself relaxing. The food looks delicious, and so you reach forth to take some. The discomfort and nervousness that might accompany such a strange meal is missing, and you do not miss it, nor are you even aware of its absence. Instead, you find yourself talking with the strangers around you as though they were long-lost friends, sharing with them the tales of your exploits, and listening raptly as they tell theirs. The Gods sitting on the other side of the table chime in occasionally with small anecdotes and asides, adding to the stories, but largely leave the telling to their children. Your host and hostess say nothing, merely watching.

Hours pass, or seem to. As you slowly savor the final dessert course, the Gods begin to seem slightly agitated, looking anxiously back and forth between your host with his mild smile and passive attentiveness, and your hostess with her infectious grin and fascinated excitement about the stories she has heard. As you finish the last bite, you host stands again and thanks you for coming. “I hope you have enjoyed your meal, my friends, but it is now time for you to leave. We shall all meet again some day, I am quite sure.”

The world seems to fade around you, a warm darkness enveloping and comforting you. The last thing you see is the faces of your host and hostess, looking down at you from above. The last thing you hear is her smiling voice saying, “Yes, I think they shall do admirably.” All is dark for a moment. Two.

And then you wake. You vividly remember your dream, the people you met. All too quickly, however, it fades away. All except that one last image, that one last sentence. Those stay with you.

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jackdrifter

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