D5

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D5 - THE DREAM

Princess Kari Stronghammer, professional spoiled brat.

The king of Menkal loved hez daughter Kari very much, though they were not even the same kind. For King Brogan Stronghammer was a nephil jen and Kari was a girl, or a young human woman. Kari had the beauty of youth with long, dark reddish-brown hair, and she was on the very cusp of womanhood. The King's body was just as slender as Kari and che had short spiky red hair, because jen hair naturally did not grow long before the individual hairs fell out, and this gave hem an elfin, pixie-like appearance, and like all jen one could stare at Kari's parent all day and never discern what gender che was, for che was literally both sexes at once, a true hermaphrodite. But in dealings with the other folk of the Land We Know, especially the humans, Brogan had to pick one, King or Queen, and King it was. But Brogan was clearly older than Kari, because hez face was careworn with many lines.

The King was almost supernaturally patient with Kari, and denied her not the least thing. Even during the frantic preparations for the Royal Council che was willing to stop and make time to listen attentively to Kari as though she were the only thing that mattered in the entire Land We Know. The King sat close to her and nodded hez head up and down as she described for hem the seemingly random images of last night's dream.

Kari said, Parent, I dreamed it was night, but in the sky there were little glowing white dots. And I could see the ground was covered with sleeping little metal people. People came out of the sky in two tall metal engines of war that spouted fire, but they wore strange armor, and I could not tell if they were man, woman, yin, yang, or jen. The first person picked up one of the metal people and took it into the first metal tower, and somehow I knew that metal person was me, in the strange way of dreams. That person flew into the sky and we were safe. The second person stayed behind to pick up as many of the other metal people as they could find, but that person was caught by strange men and killed. Then I awoke.

King Brogan stopped nodding his head and smiled at Kari. Che said, Shall I interpret the dream for you, child?

Please do, Parent. To Kari, the King was the wisest jen who ever lived.

The first person in your dream is me. You feel protected around me, which is a good thought, because indeed my entire will is bent toward keeping you safe. The second person in your dream is your human mother, who wanted to have other children by me, and those were the other little metal people. But she fell victim to poison in her drink, and was killed by the palace intrigues that never cease here in Akamar.

As simple as that, Parent?

Your sleeping mind created images to express what you felt in your heart. You are still dealing with your grief. I find solace from the content of your dream that you do not blame me for your mother's death.

Never, Parent! Kari interrupted. Kari was shocked at the mere suggestion that she would ever think that, or even dream it.

The King placed a hand on Kari's head to reassure her, then che said, If you did blame me, even secretly within your heart of hearts, then your dream would have taken a very different course.

Beloved Parent, Kari said, why have you not taken for yourself another wife? Are you afraid that she will quickly be killed as well?

Not so, Kari. Soon the one adept at poison will come forward and try to worm into my life, and then I will know who she is. But now we must set aside your dreams, daughter, and our lingering grief for your mother, and our lamentation of things we can never change. Queen Aurra Firegem summons me to a great council in Alodra, and I would have you come with me.

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