Chapter 3

Lorday, 6 Faenym, 1007 KR

“It’s a good myth. Cain. But it’s just a myth,” Ceph said.

Nael shook his head. “No myth is just a myth. No song is just a song. No story just a story. Telling it gives it meaning. Hearing it gives it meaning. Gives it power. There is great power in story, in music. There is truth in even the most blatant fiction. You find the meaning you need.”

Uunday, 7 Faenym, 1007 KR

Nael’s song had Ceph thinking about Rye. “Outcast.” That must be what it felt like, sometimes. To be different, growing up. To be fey.

Sunday, 8 Faenym, 1007 KR

“I always thought of you as a brother, Rye.”

“I… could never think of you as just a brother.”

Ceph looked at him with sudden dawning. “I’m sorry.”

Danday, 9 Faenym, 1007 KR

The engraving on the copper amulet had been worn smooth from rubbing. It was all Ceph had of them. He needed the touch of it. Needed to feel.

Losday, 10 Faenym, 1007 KR

Working in this bar, coming from where he’d come, it was easy to forget that this wasn’t normal. That most didn’t see this much death.

Brenday, 11 Faenym, 1007 KR

“When did you know?”

“Not until I met you,” Rye said. “Then I couldn’t deny it.”

“You never told me.”

“I did.”

“Not—that it was me.”

Byrday, 12 Faenym, 1007 KR

“Gods. How many bars feature an altar to the Angel of Death?”

“How many bars does he frequent?” Ceph replied.

At this, the man was silent.

Lorday, 13 Faenym, 1007 KR

“How much of the death you’ve seen was from violence?” Nael asked Ceph.


“I’ve seen a lot. Violence stays with you.”

“All death does.”

Uunday, 14 Faenym, 1007 KR

Sometimes, Nael didn’t show up to play. Ceph never asked about it—just paid him when he did come. Sometimes you just need time.

Sunday, 15 Faenym, 1007 KR

“Some things that happen to you, you’re meant to learn from,” Nael said. “Some things, you just have to move on, no matter the pain. Others stay with you, no matter what you do, never resolving, never disappearing, always floating in the blackness behind your eyes. They haunt you, and you cannot know their purpose. Maybe they don’t have one. But they change us. They make us who we are.”

Danday, 16 Faenym, 1007 KR

“So,” Ceph said to a patron, “Why do you drink here? With all the death?”

“It’s close,” the man said, shrugging.

Typical Theore apathy, Ceph thought.

Losday, 17 Faenym, 1007 KR

“Haven’t seen you in a while,” the mortician said.

“Haven’t had need,” Ceph said. “Why now?”

“Just came for a drink.”

Brenday, 18 Faenym, 1007 KR

He’d seen her many times in the Stop—Lona, the half-human woman with the tattoos on her face and neck, like the dark elves. She knew all the other regulars, talked to them like old friends. But she rarely spoke to Ceph.

But sometimes, he’d catch her watching him, like she could see into his mind. Ceph didn’t like her.

Byrday, 19 Faenym, 1007 KR

The sun broke through Ceph’s window; he woke to birds and blue sky. When had it become spring? He closed his curtains.

Lorday, 20 Faenym, 1007 KR

It was difficult to be depressed when the sun was shining outside. Ceph poured himself a drink and tried harder.

Uunday, 21 Faenym, 1007 KR

“I just can’t,” Old Tom said as Ceph led him up the stairs. “Forty years is too long to live with it.”

“There are other things to live for,” Ceph said.

“Are there?” Tom asked. “What are they?”

But Ceph had no answer.

Sunday, 22 Faenym, 1007 KR

“Matron’s face was priceless,” Rye said. “I still can’t believe you did it.”

Ceph shrugged. “The moustache had to go. No one else stepped up.”

Danday, 23 Faenym, 1007 KR

“Master Carver was fey,” Rye said.

“How do you know?”

“I slept with him, Ceph.”

“Oh, that’s how you did so well in History.”

Rye grinned.

Losday, 24 Faenym, 1007 KR

He’d learned the names of the regulars quickly; they came often. They didn’t come to die—he wondered what drew them here.

Brenday, 25 Faenym, 1007 KR

Old Tom flirted with Lona some nights, she much younger than him. She teased him. It was cute. But then she’d leave, and Tom would drink.

Byrday, 26 Faenym, 1007 KR

“We falsely assume life is all about us,” Nael said. “But to do otherwise is to reduce ourselves to secondary characters in another’s story.”

Lorday, 27 Faenym, 1007 KR

Regulars at the Stop were an intriguing lot—people who chose to be present for a lot of death, chose to accept, salute, and live on.

Uunday, 28 Faenym, 1007 KR

“You’re tired.”

“I don’t sleep much, Rye.”

“How long since you got a full night?”

“How old am I?”

Sunday, 29 Faenym, 1007 KR

“I worry about you, Rye.”


“Because you’re still here.”

“So are you.”

“You know it’s not the same.”

“You sure?”

Danday, 30 Faenym, 1007 KR

“Ceph’s a good guy,” Old Tom told Lona, “though he doesn’t talk about himself much.”

“What do you know of his friend?”

“What friend?”

Losday, 1 Drannym, 1007 KR

The white eyes followed him into his dreams. They were everywhere. The mines, the mountain woods, the village, the city. Watching.

Brenday, 2 Drannym, 1007 KR

Ceph woke, drenched in sweat, gasping. The hooded crow perched on the foot of his bed. Was there pity in its eyes?

…Continue Reading, Dreamscape