A Dream Weaver by Melissa Manuel

They all desperately seek love. They chase it as if it were the most precious jewel or as if it were the last glass of water in this infernal land. They all spend so much of their time searching for love, that they never find it. And it bores me terribly.

I hate filling out those requests, absolutely loathe them. They all want me to weave their fantasies into moments of fictional reality.

Sometimes I’d just like to do what my father did, weave dreams that people needed, not wanted. Father was excellent at doing this. Weaving truths into the subconscious in order to reveal that need instead of the want.

I could never manage to do it. Which is why I’m stuck taking requests that come in unpleasant droves to my doorstep with small silver coins. And now every single time I get another damn request with the word “love” on it I think I die only a little more than I do every other minute of my long, tedious days.

Even now as I lean by my heavily hooded window I watch as a young dragonborn woman with deep blue skin comes up my porch steps clutching a scroll tightly to her chest, I already feel irritated. She is obviously either afraid or embarrassed to be leaving a request at my doorstep because her amber eyes flicker anxiously around taking in my home. It isn’t relatively big either, one story made of glossy obsidian walls and a thick curved roof of dark stone that hangs depressingly over the sides. She has to duck her head to reach my doorstep.

She stops by the dark oak basket by the door and I observe her as she reads the sign. Her eyes scan the carefully carved words with my precise calligraphy that simply reads, “Leave requests in basket. And then leave.”

Something changes in her fretful expression, and she appears more upset with the entire ordeal, almost as if she realized how ridiculous her entire endeavour of coming here was. And I absolutely agree.

The dragon woman drops her scroll into the basket and she scans the window where I currently stand and she narrows her eyes. I remain where I am and scowl at her, annoyed with her probing amber eyes. As if she sensed my complete disgust she turned on her heel and left.

I peel away from the window already loathing the idea of having to go retrieve the numerous scrolls already piling up outside when I hear heavy footsteps outside my door. I glance at my desk and consider ignoring these footsteps, as they may be just another damn request leaver, but boredom often fuels my curiosity, and I slink back toward my spot by the window.

I’m not exactly thrilled to see that the large man standing in front of my door  is none other than my absolute least favorite person. Practically on instinct I stroll back to my desk and sit crossing my legs just in time as my front door slams wide open. I wince as the sunlight streams in and I shield my eyes.

“Dear brother, the universal form of asking to enter a desired room is called knocking,” I lean back and smile knowing it doesn’t exactly reach my eyes, “I can show you how if you’d like.”

I can practically see the rage boiling under his too bright eyes, but instead of punching me in the face he takes a deep breath and straightens. “Kaelan please can’t you be civil just for one moment?”

I scoff and wave a lazy hand at my door precariously dangling from its hinges, “I’m not the one who just slammed my door open with their foot.”

Jagdish scowls at me and crosses his arms across his chest, I almost feel bad for him because his arms and chest aren’t even close to being bigger than his head.

“Forget the door Kaelan-”

I interrupt him with a long sigh, “But how can I? I mean look at what you’ve done, they don’t grow doors on trees, much less self-repairing doors!”

Jagdish growls in frustration and this time actually forms a fist with his meaty hand. But by the way he’s restraining himself I can already tell he’s here because he wants something from me, which is definitely worse than being punched.

“Kaelan, I have a job for you,” When I open my mouth to protest he grabs the front of my shirt and promptly pulls me up from my seat. “And don’t you dare say another word because you will do this.”

I lean back to avoid being any closer to his foul face than necessary, “It doesn’t work that way Jagdish; if you have a request, leave it in the basket just like everyone else. I don’t do family discounts.”

In response he shakes me with ease and growls, “Don’t say another word, you’ll do this or I’m making Quincy my bride whether she, or you, like it or not.”

Ah, this does give me pause. “What are you saying?” Now Jagdish lets me go knowing he has successfully trapped me.
He smirks in victory, “I’m saying that I’ve managed to get Quincy’s senile father to owe me enough money that the only way he can pay me back is by letting me marry her daughter and receive all her mother’s wealth included.” When Jagdish smiles I think I hear children scream in fear, it’s that appalling.

I reply by scowling and dusting off my coat. “You are such a horrible, horrible person brother dear. Sometimes I think you must take classes on how to be a better person. I know the tree elves offer some on self-enlightenment.”

Jagdish only laughs in response, and I’m confident his laugh sent those children straight to their premature deaths. “Well, if you ask anyone in the town they’d say the opposite.”

I roll my eyes in response as Jagdish stands taller and puffs out his already too large chest even more. “Don’t roll your eyes at Cantor’s best beloved and worshipped businessman to ever manage this foul village!”

I resist the urge to mention that the citizens of Cantor are too ignorant and stupid to realize that their beloved businessman is the most atrocious con man to ever pick their pockets. But of course that would be a waste of breath. Well, every word spoken to Jagdish is a waste of breath.

I sigh heavily, “What inappropriate fantasy do you want me to weave into your dreams Jagdish? How awful are they that you must come ask me in person?”

Jagdish scoffs in response and flexes his jaw as if I am the one being difficult. “I don’t need you weaving anything in my mind,” He spits on my floor, which in all honesty I find immensely rude. But he already broke my front door so why not spit on my floor too. “I never cared for Father’s foolish career that you inherited and you know that.”

I shake my head, Jagdish will always hate me for inheriting the Dream Weaving ability. It was the one thing he wanted more than anything at one point, along with our father’s approval. But despite all his efforts it was futile. Which led to Jagdish turning sour, and turning his attention to a different goal. Money. And making lots of it any way possible. I think that’s the only reason Mother adores him so, always such a mommas boy.

“It’s not my dreams I want you interfering with anyway,” This carries enough merit for me to actually look up and actually pay full attention. “I need you to go find that old elf Corshe and make sure he leaves his fortune for his great friend Jagdish Liciatorium.”

Jagdish does what I’m assuming his form of a smug smile, and I continue to stare blankly at him as if I were waiting for the punch line.

“That’s not how Dream Weaving works Jagdish.”

As a response he pulls out a scroll from his pocket and I raise my eyebrows.

“You’re reading now? Surely the world is on fire and shall end immediately.”

Jagdish ignores me and proceeds to unroll the brittle paper and reads to me, “‘It is known that the first Dream Weavers of Ereshkigal had the power to weave ideas into the dreams of their subjects. And often these ideas would lead into actions taken by said subject.’” Jagdish tosses the scroll at me and I catch it before it hits my face and I re-read what was just read to make sure he wasn’t making all of this up.

“Oh yes this is how Dream Weaving works. If you ever left this damn house you’d see that all your most loyal customers are basically drunken fools trying to make the endeavors of their dreams come true. They’re practically inane,” I finally begin to feel some fear, Jagdish is using big words which is never a good sign. “So if you wish to keep living and working here in Cantor you’ll do this job for me and I’ll make sure no one runs you out of town.”

 

\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/

 

You’d think after such a threat he’d offer to fix my door. Of course not.

And now I have to go find this old elf and somehow manage to corrupt his mind to make him give my darling brother all his money, just another exciting day in the life of me.

“Kaelan!” I was interrupted from my thoughts of self-loathing as I packed by the sound of a voice singing my name.

“Oh Kaelan, what did the door do to you?” I sigh as I turn to find the tiny woman with hands on her hips standing in my door frame.

“That’s what you should be asking my brother.” As a response she shakes her head and the rusty curls bounce around her tiny face wildly.

“Jagdish is such an awful man I forget he is your brother.” She proceeds to throw herself into a chair and pull out her latest project. I sneak a glance at the new elaborate gown in her hands. It’s incredibly beautiful,  it seems to flow like water in her small hands, every time it moves the colors shimmer just like the flow of the Rainbow River that borders Cantor to the west. It’s clearly one of her best creations yet, but she lets out a frustrated sigh. “And this dress is just as awful!”

I roll my eyes at her and continue packing. “Oh please Quincy, nothing you make is awful.”

She looks up at me surprised with her lush green eyes that hover over a mini-forest of freckles. Quincy herself can be considered a piece of art being the daughter of both an elf and a pixie making her quite fascinating to look at.

“Did you just say something nice? Oh dear something must be wrong,” Now she notices my packing and her jaw drops. “Are you packing? Oh my what is going on?”

I close my bag and slide it on across my chest sighing. “I have a very special request to fill out,” I scowl at the open door frame. “I have to go manipulate an old elf into giving all his money to my darling brother if I wish to continue business in Cantor.”

Quincy sets down her sewing and stands up, which leaves her head at level with my sunken in chest. “What?

I pat her head and step around her. “Just as you heard. The malicious con man who happens to be my relative has finally gotten to me.”

And I’m half-tempted to just let him run me out of town so I won’t have to go, what’s it called, outside?

“You can’t go alone!” I reply by giving her a long stare.

“Oh don’t give me those cold, dark eyes you won’t last five minutes out there!” I wave a hand at her, even though she is most certainly right because I only ever go outside in the blackness of midnight to fulfill the dream requests.

I nod thoughtfully. “Perhaps. Maybe I’ll get lucky and die of heat stroke before I actually have to talk to anyone.”

Quincy lets out an exasperated sigh. “Kaelan. Do you even know where this elf lives?”

I turn my head to the side, “No. Not at all.”

I’m given a long look of annoyance. “That’s it I’m coming with you. I know just the dragon who’ll help you find this elf.”

She begins gathering her things into her own bag and muttering plans to herself. “We’ll have to go into the forest and I think the dragon is somewhere along King’s Road and…”

I choose to stop her before she starts planning her travel outfit. “You are not coming Quincy. I’m a big boy I can last a day in the forest.”

Quincy links her arm with mine and her warmth feels like a shock against my own chilled skin. “No. You’re a big baby and you need me. We go together.”

I scowl as she leads us out the door and then flinch at the harsh sunlight.

Quincy laughs and it’s almost sounds like the sweet bells of Candlenights. “See? A big baby who can’t even take a little sun.”

 

\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/


Boo.

I’ve returned. Since Aramis is off “discovering the hidden tomb of FDR” he asked me to fill in for him this week. Don’t worry I’ll make sure he comes back next week. For now I hope this story amuses you as much as it amused me to write it. This is an old idea I hope to further into something much longer in the future.

Melissa

P.S. Don’t forget to follow the orders sent to you at the thirteenth chime of midnight from the southeast wind on the day we discussed previously.

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