[Show us your domain] An Aetherdream

I am trapped. Trapped in the ostentatious and over joyful city of Aetherdream with its too loud musicians and too bright colours. I rub my temple, sneaking a glare at Mirithd, our team's swordsman. He smirks back. Irritated, my glare becomes sharper than Mirithd's own swords. He has tricked me into attending this play using sweet words about finding a set of elusive To'resk armour. It had taken months to raise enough money to even consider affording the traditional rice armour, and then travel to the bleak county of Orytzîa. A beautiful, shadowed, damp county of rice farming. Legend has it that the county was named after the founding family of Oryza, though historians say it was just a coincidence; both names originate from the ancient word for rice. Regardless, Orytzîa is home to the best To'resk armourers who perfect their craft on flawless materials. That I can respect, but did they have to make the capital so …happy?

I grumble, barely managing to avoid a delighted and shrieking child. We could have started our armour fitting by now. Maybe begun learning about jobs for otherwise dirt-poor travellers. Did Mirithd really have to start a lecture on the romantic legend of Mydra and Ne'ran? It was just an over-glorified tragedy. Doesn’t Mirithd want to go buy our armour and do some real adventuring? Why listen to someone else’s adventures when we could just go adventuring ourselves?

Mirithd’s face lit up and I glance at the approaching building. It has a massive golden gateway, with semi-transparent cloths draped across it that drifted in the light breeze. The interior is dark and otherwise quiet, the inside crowd only a murmur. A pocket of peace.

I open my mouth but he shushes me. Bewildered, I follow everyone's gaze to the stage.

Walking slowly from the shadows is a lone figure. The mist, emerging from who knows in this warm room, teased at the elegant dress flowing around her feet. She looks into the crowd, and her eyes meet mine. My surroundings fade. All I can see are her deep, piercing eyes staring from her pale white face. She smiles and opens her mouth to whisper. “An Aetherdream.”

And then I am swept away by a performance of a rejected traveller who had only a few grains of rice left as her last meal. She wandered alone in the historical marshes of Orytzîa and collapsed beside a lake. Staring into the marshes with the reflected glow of the many stars she dreamed of a city, her city, where travellers from all tribes gathered to hear histories, myths and legends. Deep inside unravels a hidden feeling that I had locked away. Kinship. Tonight I felt less alone in the world.


"That was the first daughter of the Oryza family," Mirithd hooted as we left the theatre. He prattled about her Dras-like pale skin, sharp cheekbones, and eyes that were of indisputable To'resk beauty, but I was barely paying attention to even weaving through the thick crowds. A large jostle pushed me into an alleyway, awakening me from my trance. Here, the city noise had dimmed to a low buzz. I hesitated to leave, and instead found myself wandering into the outskirts of the city. I came upon a mist-covered lake and entertained the idea it was this one that the founder had slept beside. I knelt at the edge and gazed at my reflection. In the distance I could see the city, vibrant and passionate against the celestial skies. People wandered behind me dressed from all different attires of Elyria. I silently wished to any listening deities to whisper to the past and tell that lone traveller that her dream had come true, and her stories reached even battle-obsessed mercenaries like me.

I touched the water and let the ripples ebb to the banks. Then I froze.

The face staring back is not mine. For a moment I think it is the Oryza daughter with pale skin and the same soul seeking jet eyes. However, unlike during the play, the ethereal face copies my shock. It is gaunt, travel-worn, and so tired. She is even more weary than I. Her eyes widen. I smile and mouth to her the word that had started the play.

“An Aetherdream.”