The rain came down in thick sheets across the vast high mountain meadow. A dark line of hulking buffalo huddled together in the distance, protecting the young ones from the wind. Beyond them the massive rock formation named Bear Back disappeared into the darkness of the thick clouds. Diffused flashes of lightning brightened the clouds for split moments above. With a fitful crack the thunder began its slow rumble across the yellow grasses of the meadow.
Brommen sat beneath the low bows of a massive oak tree on the border of the meadow. He huddled over a very small fire with his wool robe protecting the flames from the wind. He took a long drag on his makeshift pipe that he had carved from a small chunk of wood. As the bitter smoke hit his lungs a wave of glowing calm rose through his spine and washed over his mind.
He dived into a strong current of thought. It took him deep into the blackness of a world unknown. It was as if the earth he now sat on was somehow just a dream layered on top of a reality of dark black emptiness. A path led into the darkness disappearing far away on an endless horizon of black. He wondered what would await him on that his path in the coming months.
Flash of light. Seconds pass. Then lazy rumble starting high then sinking deep into Brommen’s bones. His awareness returned to the small flame of his fire. It leaped here and there as if it was constantly trying to escape the small pieces of wood that gave it life. Would he too leave his home only to flicker out like a flame too eager to reach for something he could never grasp. Time would tell. He would take it slow. Learn what he could along the way.
The old sage’s of his tribe told him he must travel to seek out the origin of his dream gift. His recurring dreams were too vivid and strong to ignore. He had seen a vast village in his dreams. Not a village made of tents like the villages of his people, but a vast village of stone tents that rose high with a wall of stone surrounding them. He saw a massive monster rise out of the desert near the village that overwhelmed it with it’s shadow. It stayed sentry overlooking the village for a time as it’s shadow, with a mind of it’s own, spread through every pathway in the village until they were all stained with inky blackness.
The bolting of the buffalo caught Brommen’s eye. In an instant they began running down the meadow to his left, spooked by something. Brommen scanned the meadow and spotted a small black shape erratically running towards him from across the meadow. A human, but not anyone from his village. No one that he knew ran so clumsily. As the person approached he saw that it was a tall lanky man with black pants, a colorfully mottled coat, and a strange tall black hat. At one point the man’s hat flew off his head. He awkwardly chased after it almost falling on his face tripping over a bush. He finally caught his hat out of the playful clutch of the wind, put it back on holding it with his left hand, and continued to bounce and weave his way toward Brommen. Brommen cautiously brought his hand to the hilt of his sword. He didn’t like surprise company.
The man came to a stop ten feet away from Brommen, “HELLO, Hello, helllllooo!”
A low grunt was Brommen’s only reply.
“I mean…I mean no harm. But! I do mean…I do mean to harm no one. May I join you? May I join you at your humble flame?”
Brommen just stared at him.
“Alright, alright, alright. I’ll just stand here in the rain, stand here in the rain, and shiver, shiver, shiver.”
“Who are you?”
“Who. Am. I. Who am I? Who am I is he who…Who am I is he who gets pissed on. Yes! I am he who gets pissed on for telling a joke. I possibly…I possibly could have chosen. Could have chosen! Yes, I could have chosen a slightly more receptive audience.
“Well…you may never find a receptive audience, talking like you do. Come a little closer, so I can save any further audiences from your torture.”
“Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, Waaaaaiiiittt a minute! I don’t…I don’t…I don’t wish to offend. I! I. I can help you.”
“Yes you can. You can head back across the meadow where you came from.”
“No! No, no, no, no, no, no! They…they will kill me.” A strained look of terror spread across the man’s face. He looked back across the meadow, scanning the horizon nervously. Then he swung his head back to focus on Brommen, “I can help. I am telling you…I am telling you. I can. I can. I can. I have seen you. Oh yes! I have seen you. Not here…no. no. no. Not here. But! But. But in Dream Deep. Yes! Dream Deep. That is where I saw you. Tell me. Tell me truth. Are you….are you not on a journey? A journey…Yes! A journey with no direction. I will. I will guide you! I will guide you where you wish. Yes! Where you wish to go. This…this is truth…if…if you can protect me. Protect me from the those that piss.
Brommen took another drag from his pipe. “Who is after you?”
Awe, now, now, now. Now you are interested. I speak! I speak of dreams, and you… and you listen. Those that piss. Yes the pissers. The pissers, they come. They come for me now.”
Brommen started to get angry, “Who are they?”
Oh yes, yes, yes. Gold. Gold! Gold seekers. They don’t like. Don’t like. Don’t like the dreamers. The dreamers like you and I…like you and I. They string…they string! They string you up by your hands. By your hands…high…high up…high up in tree like your oak here. But! But before they string…before they string you up…they…they…they take strips of skin from your body. That way…that way…you are bleeding…bleeding real slowly. Then the birds come…the birds come and pick away…pick away at your exposed…your exposed flesh.
“Well, thats a fun story.”
The man laughed hysterically. Brommen thought it sounded like a cackling crow. Brommen didn’t like crows.
“You! You think…you think I am joking?”
Brommen was about to answer when he saw a group of men on horseback coming from across the meadow in full gallop. The man turned to look as well.
“Oh shit….shit, shit, shit, shit. Shit! Pissers, pissers, pissers.
Brommen rose to his feet and quickly kicked his small fire out. The man began to shiver uncontrollably with fear.
“Help…help me…and I…and I..and I will…I will help you.
Brommen turned and walked towards the forest, “Follow me.”
“Oh thank you, thank you, thank you! You will…you will not be disappointed! My name…my name is Quincy. Yes! Quincy. What is yours?
Brommen turned to Quincy, “I will help you, but under one condition. You keep silent until I say otherwise.”