The rest of Saturday passed without much incident. There was a bit of a pizza party since no one really wanted to brave the reporters outside. This did give Lisbeth a chance to meet some of her floor mates while not having a breakdown and after giving them some time to adjust to her presence. There was apparently some kind of unspoken agreement to not ask Lisbeth about what had happened to her. Lisbeth was rather thankful for this and even managed to pull down her barriers part way through the evening, eventually she and Nerissa begged off to bed.
Bed as it turned out was something of a difficult task. The dorm beds were not big enough for two people. It had worked the night before because Lisbeth was small and they were very happy to cuddle close together. This night however that didn’t quite work out since cuddling lead to a certain amount of pain for Lisbeth and her still tender skin. Eventually they worked out a position that worked with Nerissa on her side and Lisbeth tucked under her arms. It still took quite a while even then for them to get to sleep, but sleep did eventually come.
Once asleep Lisbeth had a number of tasks to complete, a number of people to see. Devon and Hinirich would need reassuring that the organization was not falling down around their heads. The twins just needed to know she was ok, not that they didn’t already know but it was still good to reassure them. Shelby was in need of a gift of some kind, or at least a heartfelt thank you. Crimson would need a small drop in, mostly to gossip. Nerissa who had been so supportive even when she was probably freaking out the whole time, well she would need something special.
She decided to start with Crimson since well, he would be easy. She found him at the heart of the Arlethian great church, a building resembling a large castle. The heart of the complex contained a simple room with an ivory round table at the center. The table was encircled with nine chairs each made with a different kind of wood and one made of bone. Crimson was sitting in the ebony chair, looking to be in his twenties and without his tattoos. The other chairs were occupied by fuzzy incomplete figures, a sure sign that they really didn’t matter. These placeholders winked out of existence as Lisbeth arrived. She chose to sit in the chair directly opposite of Crimson, the bleached bone one.
“Dreaming of a promotion?”
“Large parts of the world can be controlled from this chair Lisbeth. Why would I ever want to sit in it? I am simply dreaming of a possibility.”
“Too bad, I was going to offer it to you.”
“Please stop offering to subvert the will of my god Lisbeth. It can’t be healthy for either of us.”
“Your probably right, the gods do tend to get bitchy when defied.”
“It’s comments like that, that make me doubt who you say you are.”
“But you would never ask, would you?”
“No, everyone has their secrets. I am content to remain on the outside of this one.”
“I’ve got people to see tonight, anything else Crimson?”
“I’m putting together a fleet for tomorrow night, you in?”
“Always. See ya later.”
“Try to take better care of yourself will you.”
Lisbeth smiled to herself back in her own dream, Crimson was always fun. Now wasn’t the time for that however the twins, Hinirich and Devon could all be dealt with at once. She started shaping her dream into a familiar form, drawing mountains up out of the ground and filling the sky with clouds. She started flattening out the side of the mountain she was on to create her field when she had risen above the clouds. The gazebo was next fashioning it out of pure white marble and filling it with cushions and refreshments. Finally as she walked towards it, she grew the flowers. They were different this time, not just the colors but the actual kinds represented. They did that every now and then, Lisbeth could change them back if she felt like it, but she didn’t. She also didn’t need to take so long building this place, she knew it well enough to summon it complete with just a thought.
When she reached the gazebo she reached out and grasped a handful of connections. She quickly sorted them and gave two of them a firm tug, pulling the twins into her dream. She positioned them on the cushions facing the entrance to the gazebo and lounged across their laps.
“Don’t say anything, we can talk after I am done with the recruits. Kay?”
The twins acknowledged her request with a nod, they really were well trained like that. Lisbeth reached out again and pulled on two more connections, these ones not quite as strong as the twins had been. Hinirich and Devon entered her dream at the far end of the field, they didn’t say anything as they walked up to her gazebo. She could have just brought them to her but right now she needed a display of power, even if it was just some posturing. When they both arrived they didn’t look happy, they were both showing signs of stress.
“You two look tired, you should sleep more.”
“Oh we’re trying, but the fact that you got butchered is making it difficult to sleep.”
The one who replied was Devon, he was apparently stressed out enough to forget about his normally polite demeanor.
“Oh relax you two, everything went according to plan, nothing has changed for either of you.”
“Plan, as in you wanted to get cut up?”
Hinirich replied this time, not attempting to hide his incredulity.
“No I didn’t want to get cut up. But I needed to send a message, have it taken seriously and not have too many questions asked about the source. Why do you think I had a priest on hand.”
This shut both of them up momentarily and Lisbeth saw an opportunity to end things quickly.
“Look your orders are still the same, get me my enchanter. Now get some rest.”
She sent them back to their own dreams with a mental push. Then she noticed that the twins were looking down at her slightly disapprovingly.
“You could have handled that better.”
“Are you sure you are ok?”
“Of course I’m not fucking ok. I did what was necessary to save as many lives as I could without saying too much. But that doesn’t make me bloody well ok.”
Lisbeth practically screamed at them the sky tuning a deep red. The twins didn’t move, nor did she from their laps. She realized what was happening to her dream scape and pulled it back into place before it could destabilize and become less pleasant.
“Look I know you two are just worried about me but I can handle it myself.”
She didn’t give them a chance to contradict her before sending them back into their own dreams. She really wasn’t holding it together all that well, she needed to do something about that. She needed to find a way to ground herself properly. Later of course for now just Shelby and Nerissa were left and Nerissa might just help with the grounding. Lisbeth wanted as much time with Nerissa as possible so she decide to deal with Shelby next. Dragging Shelby out of her dreams would have been rude for this kind of visit so Lisbeth went to her.
Shelby wasn’t dreaming thanks to Lisbeth’s last visit in her mind. This kind of thing didn’t last without the constant attention of a dream walker unless the dreamer wanted it. Her empty dream wan’t a featureless void or something similar as one might have expected it to be. Instead it was a raging inferno a massive pure elemental fire, in the center was Shelby. Not as she appeared in life but as she saw herself, she appeared older and oddly enough had a number of scars. Lisbeth sat in the fire close to Shelby but not touching her and allowed her to slowly enter a dream and become aware of Lisbeth’s presence.
“Why are we in the middle of an inferno?”
“Don’t ask me this is your head. If I had to say it is because this is where you feel safest.”
“And why are we naked?”
“We weren’t naked, it was an undefined part of the dream until you noticed. Why were you looking at my tits?”
Shelby blushed a similar color to some of the flames surrounding her.
“No you aren’t.”
“I know, I’m just fucking with you. But this is a dream, the perfect place to experiment without consequences.”
“Don’t you have a girlfriend? What are you doing here anyways?”
“I came here to say thank you for staying with me during my surgery.”
“I didn’t stay with you, you stayed with me.”
“But you asked me to, that amounts to the same thing.”
Lisbeth pulled Shelby into a tight hug.
“You didn’t have to, so thank you.”
Lisbeth pulled back and gave a genuine smile to Shelby.
“I know you wanted an invite to a dream party so I will give you one when the next party gets scheduled. Also if you ever need something don’t hesitate to ask.”
“Does this mean you are leaving?”
“Yeah, do you want to dream tonight or not? Or you could come with me, it might be fun I’m going to visit Nerissa next.”
“No dreams please, and I am straight so don’t go inviting me to join in with your girlfriend.”
“Fine one dreamless sleep coming up, besides Nerissa probably wouldn’t have gone for it anyways.”
“Then why did you ask?”
“Because you said no.”
Lisbeth slipped Shelby back into a dreamless state. She took a minute to regard Shelby’s unconscious form wreathed in flames before slipping out of her mind. Finding dreams was all about finding the right connection, nothing made a connection stronger than intimate contact. So finding Nerissa’s dream didn’t even count as a search, she just slipped in. Nerissa was fighting again, this time against zombie/skeleton hybrid things.They might not have been as dramatic as a dragon but there were a lot of them. Also for every one that Nerissa killed two seemed to take it’s place. Nerissa’s formfitting yet wildly impractical and stupid armor wasn’t remaining as pristine and perfect as it had the last time Lisbeth saw it. Her once billowing and pure white cape was now tattered and bloodstained.
Lisbeth found herself represented in the dream as well. She was chained to the wall in tattered clothes at the top of a stone tower. The tower was naturally surrounded by the zombie/skeleton things and Nerissa wasn’t making much headway killing. Lisbeth watched for a little while before getting impatient and stopping the respawning of the monstrosities. She didn’t simply clear a path for Nerissa, that seemed like something she had to do for herself. Eventually after much gore was spread along the walls of the spiral staircase Nerissa made it to the top of the tower. Lisbeth entered her dream self and at the same time made Nerissa aware that it was her in mind.
“I can leave if you don’t want me here.”
“No, please stay.”
“Ok in that case. We have to do something about your armor.”
“What’s wrong with my armor?”
“It’s a stupid design no matter how good it makes you look.”
Nerissa was looking and sounding somewhat defense so Lisbeth decided to take a more direct approach. She freed herself from the chains keeping her on the wall, but left the manacles. This was the second time Nerissa had tied her up, so it was approaching a pattern. She walked up to Nerissa and promptly pulled off her breastplate. She then put one arm around Nerissa’s neck to pull herself off the ground to kiss Nerissa, while using her other hand to pull off the mail skirt. Lisbeth didn’t bother use her free hand to remove the rest of the armor, preferring to instead place it somewhere more useful. Nerissa’s remaining armor dissolved into smoke along with the tattered outfit Lisbeth was wearing. After pulling back from the kiss Lisbeth looked up into Nerissa’s eyes.
“See much better without the armor.”
Nerissa didn’t reply preferring to instead press Lisbeth up against the wall and kissing her fiercely. In the real world that probably would have hurt when they went off balance and fell to the stone floor, but here they didn’t feel it. Nerissa’s hands moved in a slightly frantic manner like she didn’t quite know what to do with them. Lisbeth had to grab them and guide them through the motions much more deliberately. Things continued on a rather predictable path from there, yet with the creativity that dreams allowed. In the real world Nerissa nearly woke Lisbeth up when her sleeping form got a lot less still and silent.