By EM Malachi
A small mouse dreamed in a box of yarn by the inn’s hearth. Sherry was enjoying a most satisfying piece of dream gouda and watching a play she had seen so long ago. The chair was built for a child, and one of the actors had been nice enough to loan her a cushion. She was watching a man smash a paste gem with his prop sword when someone sat in the empty seat beside her. She nodded to the man and continued to watch the soliloquy on stage.
After listening for a few moments, the man beside her started talking, “As this is one of the few events I did not witness, I often wonder if the Stranger understood the importance of his act. Did he know that shattering the gem would lead to everything that followed?”
Sherry turned to look at the speaker. He appeared to be an older human, wearing a light blue robe. He was smiling at her, but there was a hint of sadness in his eyes. He would have been perfectly normal if not for his shadow, which formed the silhouette of a grandfather clock on the wall behind him. “Do I know you?”
The old man nodded, “I spoke to three people that night: a virtuous king, a doubtful lord, and the small mouse who would tell the world. I met with the others each again, so it seemed fitting to finish the circle. My name is Hawkwind.”
Sherry stared at the Time Lord in awe, “So this is not a dream?”
“All dreams touch the place I walk, but some dreams are something more. I have much I need to tell you, but we are not alone.”
Sherry looked around the theatre. The audience were not the people she remembered, but strange beings. There was a granite-faced man who watched the play in silence while being waited upon by skeletons. A blustering red-faced man holding a great torch shouted at an usher. With a voice like the wind across crystal, a laughing woman sang along with the minstrels on stage, but the laughter did not reach her cold eyes. An older woman with pale skin and blue hair stared at Sherry like a hungry shark. In the back corner, there was something hidden by shadow.
Sherry whispered to Hawkwind, “Who are they?”
“Powers and principalities. Great beings who have noticed Sosaria for the first time. In trying to avert a tragedy, I have inadvertently drawn their attention.”
“What are you going to do about it?”
“At this moment, what little I am capable of.” Hawkwind’s body seemed to shimmer slightly, and Sherry saw that his hands and feet were bound. “With this sliver of freedom, I am talking with you.”
“But I am but a mouse.“
“You have acted when others, more powerful and better able, did nothing. Those you need to find and encourage will trust you, just as I did so many years ago.” Hawkwind turned back to the stage. The play was ending, and the actors stepped forward. There were hundreds of them, all of Britannia, people she recognized and those she didn’t. Those she needed to find. They gave a great bow, and Sherry woke to the clock striking one in the morning.