Kyna sat cross-legged, a heavy tome spread over her lap. Other dusty books sat open in a smattering around her, all marked with various ribbons. The offer that Elodie had given her was too lucrative to resist, no matter what the Elders would say. She would just have to find a way into the Dream - the Nightmare - without them knowing.
She had been embarrassed, losing a memory like that in front of Sister Tera. The drive within her to find herself pushed her through every Path, pushed her toward the Agency, pushed her to learn all that she could. She had thought that Agency would be a place she could support herself and practice her arts, but she had to admit... in the back of her mind, she wanted to use the tools at their disposal to rediscover herself.
They had said it was a fall from a tree that caused a coma and the wisps of memory drifting just out of reach like a word nearly forgotten dangling from the tip of a tongue. She didn't believe them, but she suspected they were telling her this to protect her from something. Oh, but she wasn't a child anymore! So many times she had tried to prove herself worthy... and yet, they held fast to that silly explanation. Didn't they trust her?
She mentally recited all she had learned about the Dream from the dusty books. She wished to surprise Elodie with what she'd learned, and hoped it would only bring her more esteem in her Sister's eyes. She was grateful to find another Sister in Agency, one with the knowledge and connections she needed.
The latest session with Elodie proved to be difficult and yet so richly rewarding. She had finally learned to project at will, a skill that often took years to master. Elodie suspected that Kyna once knew how, and that it must have come back to her, rather than it being wholly new information.
The lesson began with a meditation. Her lids drew heavy as the two of them chanted ancient words, twisting their tongues around prayers to the Goddess, to Cenarius, to Malorne, to Nature. The air felt vivid; colors more vibrant, more breath-taking. She could feel the air pass into her lungs, tickling every tiny nerve. The thud of her own pulse was louder than war drums, louder than armies moving, louder than the earth shaking. She sunk into herself, into the nothingness, the Void.
A brief spark of green light. It grew closer and closer and suddenly she found herself being hurled at it. She tried to shield her face with her hands, but found that she had neither. Terror gripped the edges of her mind, causing the Void to flicker, but she held on, hurtling, hurtling... to a stop.
The World of the Waking Dream wavered like an almost-solid mist. Trees, forests, everything was as it was in the real world; yet... it shifted from time to time. A tree gone there, a tree bigger, rounder there, a house appearing where there was none before. And then she noticed the blight. Disease ate away leaf and plant alike, leaving them dull and oozing. Some even tried to reach for her as she passed. She suppressed a shudder.
And then Elodie appeared. She was dressed in robes of vine-colors, embroidered with ivy. She giggled, and Kyna suddenly knew why. She blushed deeply at her nudity, and quickly her skin was replaced with a high-necked blouse and full-length skirt. A searing cry suddenly pierced the air, and instantly Elodie crouched. Battle armor replaced robe in nothing more than a blink. And then, she was gone. The cry grew louder...
Kyna felt herself being shaken. She awoke to Elodie's concerned face.
"The Dream is filled with Taint, and there is a battle there. We must be careful until you become more adept."
"Yes, Sister Elodie," she replied dutifully, her voice shaking slightly.
And thus was her first adventure with the Dream.