I originally posted this to mustakettu85
's journal as a reply, but let's post it here as well, with a slightly modified preface.
My dreams are really vivid. I get full sensory input, from smell, gravity, sense of direction, pain, pleasure... I basically experience life 24/7. While this is fun, it also means that unfun parts are extra-unfun (and as someone who has a lifetime of traumas, it can get nasty). It also means that sleep is not always refreshing to me. However... it can also get really interesting and weird.
Recently I had a dream which was impossibly gorgeous in its visuals; I've never seen a movie that gets close to it, and I don't think I can duplicate it in my art, even. All the words I've spilled out here to describe it simply do not do it justice. Further, I'm absolutely certain I've forgotten lots of crucial details.
The dream I had just recently went a bit like this: imagine a fantasy world that has never seen humans. It has some elvish people, some dwarf/gnome/halfling like people, all kinds of anthropomorphic people (from fuzzyfaced ones to full hybrid), and then totally holy-crap-what-is-that-thing sort of people. They have their own societies, cultures, and not necessarily "magic replaces technology" variety.
I am not sure what I was -- I never had a chance to look into a mirror, but I was slinky, quick-reflexed, and able to run fast and leap high, and I seem to recall light dusting of thin, tightly-cropped fur on my arms, so I might have been some sort of deer-creature on two legs.
Our villagers (a mixed bunch of various critters -- hence I can't say what I was for certain) were doing routine harvesting of gather-variety on fields, picking roots, fresh greens, etc from nature to baskets and bags. All of the sudden the air started to warble and crackle with tiny bolts of lightning, and black-clad figures stepped out of holes torn to reality. In my dream, I had no idea what they were; post-dream, I can definitely say they were humans in black SWAT-like armor. They started to shoot at us. A glob of energy flied out of the gun, and people dropped to the ground; I couldn't tell if they were dead or just unconscious. All I knew that I had to get away as fast as possible and go warn others. My heart was pounding as I was dodging and running away in zig-zag bouncing way, and I duck into the safety of forest (mixed taiga; at the edge were things like ashes, birches, beeches, rowans, and deeper you went, mostly fir).
I kept running, with no intention to stop until I was really far away, and then I stumbled upon a clearing. A bunch of "outcasts" were there, sorting through a trash dump. "Outcasts" was sort of their own chosen moniker -- they tended to chill around garbage piles, and poke and prod for usable scraps of things. Unlike the typical idea of "outcasts", they weren't dressed in rags -- quite nicely, as a matter of fact (they did use shiny bits for decorations, and they had pretty great taste in it as well), just that when they did garbage sorting, they went naked. Again, they were a mixed bunch of people, heavily favoring that dwarf/gnome/halfling group, but they also had a scattering of mole-people and rat-people, plus a catboy (who was mostly human-with-fur-whiskers-and-general-catness in appearance).
"Please!" he shouted, and grabbed my vest, "Are you my soulmate? I really must know if you are my soulmate!"
I went "Ummm... no?" and he was seriously disappointed at that answer, and went back to brooding for a bit, then he asked if he could help. "I need to see whoever is in charge! There are intruders! They are killing us!"
That got attention from the entire group and they started to cluster around us and ask questions. "Please! I have no time! I need you to send runners to others so they're warned as well! Does anyone have any paper and a pen so I can write all I know!?" After a bit of hemming and hawing -- because paper and pen were a terrible luxury and nobody was willing to give it away just like that -- someone brought to me a grocery list, and used some sort of minor spell to wipe it clean of its former writing. I wrote down my message, and looked for a container where to tuck it for safekeeping. "No! Not that one! I'm saving it for my lunch!" screamed a rat person when I was about to reach for a plastic freezer box container. "Oh. That one?" I pointed at a jar of glass, with a metal lid on. "Yeah, you can have that one." he grudgingly agreed.
"I need to go and warn the high council, which way is the city?" I asked after I had canned my warning message (and a runner had bolted to a different direction), and they pointed towards sparse woods. "You can catch the whale train there, it should be going by any moment, but it won't stop! You have to hop on!"
Now, "whale train" is... well, it was a whale on railroad tracks. They were sapient creatures that minded their own business, but they agreed to carry people or messages between cities that had sprung up by whale tracks. They had created the tracks, and absolutely refused to budge regarding their placement, which meant that if their ancestral memory of a sea said "tracks go here", and you had built your house to that spot, tough, best to move. They won't. They generally pulled a sled behind them, where people could place themselves or things they wanted hauled along; they never ceased swimming on these tracks, just going since they were born to the moment of their death. Nobody knew what they ate and they required no payment for their services, they'd either do it, or they'd drop it off right away. They resembled a 5 to 10 meter long grey cachalot, with a face like Totoro's in front.
I started to run, and saw the whale train going really fast, so I ran faster, and then made a huge leap, catching the sled by my fingers, then I felt something landing on my back and running over me to the sled, and it was the catboy. "Here! I'll help you!" and he pulled me to the sled. There were other creatures, these more animal-like, in that sled, and some were also on the back of the whale, which was unusual, because they didn't tolerate it. This whale was white-grey splotchy like a cow. "This whale is not going to the city." the catboy told me, "But it goes close enough. We can walk the rest of the way!"
The whale train went through misty taiga forest, and I was really tense as I kept expecting that those black-clad terrors would show up any moment and start shooting again. Then the train dived into a valley, where harvest was ripening -- everything was bathed in golden glow of morning, mist was everywhere, the sun was behind a wall of clouds and mist, and it glowed with ambient light, and the grain (oats? wheat?) on fields added to golden ambience. Little farm houses and barns dotted the scenery; on the other side of tracks, misty taiga forest.
"Here's where we hop off!" the catboy said, and we jumped from the sled, as the train went back to the forest. "This way! I've been to the city many times." So we started a long walk by the tracks, then off to a path in valley, with sparse forest and fields of grain in sight. Suddenly, it started to get dark, cloudy, and on the side of the fields, it was dark, and gloomy-misty this time. A vortex of churning grey and black crossed the fields diagonally, heading towards us; where it touched the grains, they died.
"Shit, it's revenants!" I yelped, and wanted to run, whereas the catboy was paralyzed by sheer terror, and tried to be not-seen and still.
Revenants were sort of restless souls and bodies; they were often desiccated or zombiefied, with a green-yellow, baleful ice-cold fire aura around them. Their eyes glowed from inside with same fire, and they spoke with hollow voices that seemed to come from very, very far away. Generally, they were nocturnal (although unaffected by daylight, since they carried their own darkness with them), gathered in groupings (so if you see one, there's at least a dozen you're not spotting), and almost always hungry for life force living people carried within. An encounter with just one might not be fatal (if you got pulled to sunshine in time, and warmed up, rubbed with scents, fed spicy food -- anything to remind you that you're alive and not dead), but since they liked being in a horde, it was often deadly.
Curiously, this twenty+ strong group was not interested about us. They went past in a whirlwind of vortex, crying and wailing with their distant voices "they are destroying us, all of us, remember us..." and then they were gone and pallid sunlight returned, now less harvest-golden. Once he had recovered from his fright, the catboy asked "What was that?" and I could only shrug and say "Maybe those soldiers found them too?"
We continued our travel, and it was getting late and the city was nowhere to be seen. Tired, we started to look for a place where to sleep, when we found a weird, massive rock formation (almost like a small mountain), with a cavernous entrance. "How about this?" and it did look fairly safe. We delved inside, and the cavern seemed to go on forever, with weird crusty, flaky and veiny rock all over. It had strange symmetrical side tunnels, smaller rock-blobs inside, and we just had go walk deeper to see what this place was. I paused to think for a bit, and then grasped some rock protusion, and began to pull on it. The catboy was confused, but he joined the effort, and together we pried that flaky rock loose.
Underneath, we saw a building wall.
This was the city, now covered with some strange substance, all over. Post-dream, it was a bit like polyurethane, but more "rocky", less spongy, crossed with flaky pastry crust.
We started to run around, and check for potential clues of what had happened; we stumbled upon a place that must have been the high council's palace, and found it crusted all over, save for a couple of rooms. What we found was a lone elf (because of course) asleep on a bed. We started to wake him up, but that took a while; when he did wake up, he regarded us with mild confusion, "You're not my servants." and stood up, then wandered over to a wardrobe to put on his robes. "No... what has happened here?!" we demanded to know. "Happened? Nothing has happened." he answered. It became clear that he couldn't see any of the crust covering the place. "Is it breakfast time?" He certainly didn't sound like he was in good state of mind, either -- somewhat senile, yet he didn't feel "old" like elves tend to do when they reach that sort of age.
Sadly, it was at this point when my brain told me to wake up, and I have no idea what happened next.