Nightmares and Dreamscapes
Rebecca Miller John Medkeff Armand Banooni and Phaedra Whitlock
Mikala stood in the middle of the dirty, smelly apartment on Ord Mandell. She had long ago given up trying to keep it clean. Mother seemed to take malicious glee out of making a mess of all her hard work. She sighed and dropped onto her narrow pallet. She dug out a beat up old data cube reader and slipped the new educube into the slot. She had stolen it out of the whiny little brat on the public transports bag. She smiled when she saw it was one she hadn't read before.
Soon, she was lost in the fascinating world of numbers and new information. Abruptly, the data reader was snatched from her hands.
"What do we have here?" her mother, Trinity Volaris, slurred out. She looked at what was on the screen and snorted in disgust. "What are you wasting your time on this garbage for?" She tore the cube out of the read and tossed them both against the far wall. There was a sharp snap and sizzle as the crystal screen cracked.
Mikala voiced a protest and earned a sharp slap across her face for her effort.
"Don't sass me, girl," Trinity hissed darkly. "You're street trash and don't forget it. You won't ever be anything. You better wizen up and learn that now."
Hate and rage flare through Mikala and she got to her feet. "You lied to me!" she accused. "You lied to me and told me Father was dead! He's not! He alive and he wants me!"
"He doesn't want you. He just feels sorry for you," she oozed. "What did you expect?" You're worthless, girl. You couldn't' even keep a man. Xanatos dumped you because you weren't woman enough to keep a man. Your Father just keeps you around because he feels sorry for siring such a waste of life."
"Shut up!" Mikala screamed. "Shut up! Just shut up!"
"What are you going to do, kill me," she taunted. "But wait, you did that already."
Mikala looked down and her hands were coated with blood. She shook them. "No, you made me do that. You tried to kill me," she said, backing away.
Blood slicked the front of Trinity's dirty tunic. "So that's my fault to? Along with every other wrong choice you've made in your life?"
Mikala clamped her hands over her ears.
A roaring shriek tore through her mind and she screamed. Terror like she had not known in years pierced her heart. She ran. She ran as fast as her legs would carry her. She had to get away. She had to escape. She ran through the darkened streets of Ord Mandell. Ran like she had run that night headless of the pain tearing at her mind like the pain had tore through her back. She had to get away she had to.
Things shifted around her and suddenly she was in the garden on Zoron. She could still feel the presence behind her. Feel it's hot breath on her neck as she ran.
She cut through the garden for the once place she felt truly safe. Her mind reaching out for help.
There was a moderate wind form the Aldaban Mountains, to the west. The corigrain was half grown. The jumja trees were just losing their blooms, and in the distance one of the neighbors was plowing.
With a thought, Darien advanced the seasons, summer turned to autumn and the leaves of the trees turned from dark green to an infinite mix of yellow, red and purple. The corigrain was gone, harvested, and the jumja trees were purple with ripe fruit.
A bluewing landed on a fence post. It was soon joined by another, and another. Soon a score of the birds were quarreling over who would lead them on the annual migration.
The aroma of starflowers floated in from the woods. I really must get Keiren some bulbs for his garden.
Far off, beyond the mountains storm clouds gathered, only half noticed.
Darien sat down on the large rock that had been the center of so many games in his childhood. He crossed his legs and started to meditate. He called the Force and let it flow though him.
A timeless hour passed. Then a scream broke the tranquillity.
Darien rolled off the rock, lightsaber drawn and started to run toward the mountains. The scream repeated. It was Mikalas voice. What was she doing on the astral plane? Her training was barely started. As he ran the terrain changed, form his parents farm on Kandar to the gardens of Steele Manor on Zoron. Ahead of him the gardens darkened.
A demon appeared, blocking his path. He cut it down with a single stroke of his lightsaber and kept running toward Mikalas voice.
Goldie scanned the quiet house. She found Lonnie in one of the sitting rooms on the ground floor, and headed that way. She reached the balcony above the front door and jumped to hall below. Then she pushed open the door to the green sitting room.
Goldie was disappointed to find that Jan already occupied Lonnies lap. Across the room, Tiri was in Attiles lap. She shook her head and lay down at Lonnies feet. She was surrounded by some of her humans so all was well in the world.
A scream pushed its way though the Force. Goldie cocked an ear and listened. The girls both rolled out of the laps.
What was that? Tiri demanded.
It sounded like a call for help. Attiles answered.
A second scream was heard. Goldie jumped up and shot though the door.
That was Mikala! Jan said. She summoned her lightsaber from the end table and followed the cat.
They reached the front hall in time to see Goldie leap to the third floor balcony. All four of them called the Force and followed her. Then they rushed down the hall to Mikalas room.
Mikala lay on the bed writhing in pain. Goldie stood on the bed, looking for an enemy.
Whats happening? Lonnie demanded of the nurse.
I dont know, my Lord.
Attiles put a hand on Mikalas forehead. I think shes astral.
She cant be. She doesnt know how. Tiri replied.
Attiles is right, shes astral, Jan responded.
Never mind what shes doing there. Were going in after her. Lonnie announced. Form a circle.
They sat in a circle around Mikala and Goldie. Hands joined their lightsabers in their laps they called the Force and jumped into the astral plane.
They were standing just outside the back door. As soon as they were fully astral they spun to watch all directions. They were immediately attacked by a dozen small astral demons. Goldie leapt from the center of the circle and crushed the biggest. The four teenagers lit their sabers and attacked. For two minutes, they duck and struck before they finished off the demons.
Where to now? Tiri demanded. There are demons all over the place.
Goldie looked around, sniffed the air and then bounded off toward Keirens garden.
Follow Goldie, Lonnie commanded. She knows. He followed the leopard.
The others joined him. They cut their way though more demons.
Melody rose from the ground, a young woman with red hair and green chain armor, wreathed in green-gold flames. She looked around at the scene. Melody stepped over the dead demon bodies around her and followed her friends across the lawns at a run.
Darien stepped into the garden, and looked around. A moment later, Mikala came running in from the opposite side. He moved toward her.
Mikala screamed as a great hulking beast startled and snapped at her. She stumbled backward trying to get away from it and fell back into the bushes. She struggled to get up and through the bush, her long hair getting tangled and the bush tearing the sleeves of her black tunic. She screamed again as the beast clawed at her back, slicing through the thin fabric of her tunic.
Darien jumped forward and struck the beast with his lightsaber.
The beast whirled on Darien, roaring, drooling fangs snapping and razor sharp claws flashing out to strike at him.
A moment later Alidar cam running from the direction Mikala had come Imari flying overhead, he rolled away from Mikala trying to keep its attention while he took another swing.
Mikala crawled out of the way, looking for a place to hide.
The beast roared in frustration, it's prey escaping. It bounded toward Darien, it's four powerful legs bunching to lunge at him.
Darien dodged to his left, putting a tree in its way.
Alidar ignited his Saber and closed to strike at the monster
Drooling fangs snapped the air where he had just been. It lunged at the tree, slamming into it. It threw it weight against it trying to topple it.
Darien continued his move to his left and tried to cut the near foot off before rolling away.
The beast let up a howl as the lightsaber connected. Darkness rolled off the creature in suffocating waves. It snarled and lunged at Darien angrily.
Alidar brandished his weapon and announced his presence with a high pitched whistle.
The beast whipped it head around and bellowed.
Darien came out of his roll next to another tree and jumped into it.
There was shriek overhead and they could hear Mikala scream again.
As the beast turned, Darien pounced blade first sticking for the back of its head. Then he bounced off.
Alidar engaged the beast and prepared to slice it with his saber
The beast roared and arched back. It bellowed in rage and lumbered toward Alidar.
The shrieking overhead grew louder and angrier. The sky above them had filled with angry looking flying creatures. They looked vaguely bipedal with long arms and legs ending in wicked looking claws. Their wings beat furiously as they flew straight at them.
Mikala screamed as several of the flying creatures swooped down on her. One grabbed a handful of her hair as she struggled to beat the others off.
Imari swooped in harrying the beasts that plagued Mikala
The first beast growled and snapped up one of the flying creatures in one bite. It turned its glowing red eyes on Alidar and lunged at him.
Something large smashed though the flying monkeys around Mikala, knocking two away from her.
Mikala fell back, blood trickling down the side of her face.
Alidar stood his ground his eyes locked on the creature's. At the last moment, he fell backwards, striking for the beast's head.
With a shriek, the beast collapsed, its head rolling away from its dead body.
A moment later a dead monkey fell on Mikala.
Mikala shrieked and quickly shoved it off her.
A deep growl shook the ground under their feet.
Mikala was surrounded by whirling lights as four lightsabers cut thought the monkeys around her.
The growl came again, from outside the garden.
The flying creatures disappeared in puff of dark smoke as the lightsabers touched them.
Darien turned and headed for Mikala.
"Are you alright, Mikala?" Tiri asked as she pulled her to her feet.
Mikala brushed blood out of her eyes. "What's happening?" Her eyes roved wildly between the things in the sky and others standing around with drawn lightsabers.
Lonnie, Jan and Attiles formed up around her.
Alidar extinguished his blade and held his arm out for Imari to land on.
"We're on the astral plane, you've managed to draw a swarm of demons." Tiri answered.
A deep growl shook the garden and they could hear the crush of bushes and plants as something large advanced on them.
Darien joined the kids.
"I did what?" Mikala asked, sounding very frightened and confused.
Lonnie whistled for Goldie to join them.
"You somehow attracted a bunch of demons." Darien answered.
A second snarl answered the first and they could hear something coming from the other direction as well.
Goldie growled back.
She shook her head. "I--My mother. I saw my Mother."
"I think we have more company coming." Attiles added.
Melody moved to stand perimeter with the four, no lightsaber just flames.
Alidar approached the group slowly waiting for acknowledgement. "I beg your pardon."
MIkala looked at him. "You," she said.
"Hello," Darien answered him.
Mel looks at Mikala and the girls, shifting to a protective stance.
"I felt your distress." Alidar said.
The trees at the edge of the garden shook as something large passed beneath them.
"In coming." Jan announced.
"I would suggest we find another way than an all out attack."
"What are these things?" Mikala asked, her eyes widening in fear.
"I think so. Anger draws them." Darien agreed.
"Find shelter. To the he house, we are too exposed here." Mel suggested.
"They are attracted by fear, pain, and anger. We must hide the 'scent' that is attracting them, Alidar commanded. "Go to the house. I will attempt to mask your trail."
"All of you," Darien looked at the kids, "control your battle lust."
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