The first dream
On the night of the Puncture, Seth had a bizarre dream:
While asleep, you have a strange dream. You dream that you’ve made camp by yourself in a clearing in a forest you doesn’t recognize. You’re lying on your back staring up at the stars when you realize that the stars are growing larger. You’re falling into the sky, or the world is falling away from you, and you hang between heaven and earth. Only when you twist around to look back the way you came, you see only more stars. Two planes of stars – one above, one below.
Then lines of pure light begin appearing between the stars, making distant, faintly metallic music. The lines appear first within each star plane – drawing unfamiliar constellations in distorted shapes – and then between planes. You are rapidly encircled in an irregular lattice of the light between the stars. As you look around, you think the outlines look familiar, and just as you come to this awareness, form and field appear, and the lines fade into the clearing you were just lying in.
Only now there’s a big-ass tree there that wasn’t there before, and the sky is bulging in places, like a canvas tent with people pushing on the other end. There’s a ripping sound, a big black tear momentarily appears in the sky, and Morden pops through it, somersaulting into the campsite with a confused look on his face. Another rip, and Rilla joins him.
The owl perches on the highest branch of a tree that stands in the town square. It gazes enigmatically down at you. As you gaze back, you think you can see in its eyes an echo of another place, distant memories trying to resurface. After a few moments, the owl swivels its head around a full one-eighty degrees to look upward into the sky. Behind it, you see an image of Zaradene in full daylight, crowded with citizens, swimming as in a reflecting pool. Suddenly the image lights up with red. It cracks down the center and breaks up into fragments. Fragments that grow larger and larger, closer and closer, until you can see that they are balls of meteoric fire, heading straight for town square.
Movement catches the corner of your eye. When you lower your gaze again you see, standing in front of the tree, a very tall, thin, gray-haired man dressed in a blue nightshirt and pajama leggings. The man looks at you quizzically and asks “Who the hell are you?”
The owl gives a final imperative hoot, and you awaken to the sound of screams.
With the benefit of hindsight, much of the dream can be understood as a metaphor for the Puncture.
The second dream
While hiding out in the dark safehouse beneath angel-occupied Zaradene, Seth had another strange dream. In this dream, he was standing in a candlelit room in downtown Zaradene, looking out over a landscape strangely altered. The town square abutted a forest; those buildings that were recognizable seemed altered, reorganized, as though placed along secret paths that corresponded to the paths of Seth’s mind. In the room sat an old shadar-kai lady called Aka who identified this city as Azartane – the ancient name of Zaradene – and this realm as the Shadowfell. Aka, though welcoming enough, seemed surprised to see Seth. She said that most mortals who travel the planes in their dreams go to the Feywild. The Shadowfell must have left a mark on him, she thought, for him to be here now.
Upon learning of Seth’s predicament in the material plane, Aka offered her assistance. She would go to the elders and petition them to put the Metatron of Zaradene into a deep sleep for long enough for Seth to rescue Mayor Chance. In exchange, Seth gave her a token representing an unspecified favor he was beholden to grant in the future. The token, which looked like a dented brass model of Zaradene, was packed away carefully by Aka. Seth woke up shortly thereafter and found that the shadar-kai had kept their end of the bargain. Seth’s end has not yet been called in.