The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)
Gwyn stirred and screamed from within a dark void. There was no air; though he could breathe, his voice didn’t carry. He was moving aimlessly but couldn’t tell or feel where.
Eventually, he tripped on something and rolled down what seemed like a steep hill. The Nonpareil crashed into a tiled floor and stood up. The darkness had faded, and he quickly recognized the main hallway of his old high school. Before he could do anything, his leg suddenly gave out, and he fell face-first on the floor. A quick inspection showed it had been snapped and wrapped in a cast.
Shadowy figures appeared before Gwyn. Though their faces were obstructed, he could tell who they were–old high school friends. He tried to call out to them, but the words didn’t carry through the air. They all turned and walked away, leaving the Nonpareil alone.
He banged his left fist on the ground, but as soon as he did, the whole arm became limp.
“You look pathetic,” a voice came from behind Gwyn. He turned around suddenly to lay eyes on the speaker.
King Whitlock, the dead Aqueenian king, stood behind the Nonpareil with his arms crossed.
“Am I dead?” Gwyn asked.
“Unfortunately not, but you came close,” King Whitlock replied.
“I see; this is a dream. I’m imagining you for some reason,” Gwyn confirmed with a nod. He pondered what he could have seen or eaten to trigger King Whitlock’s appearance, but nothing seemed apparent.
The king rubbed his blue brow and groaned.
“I don’t have much time; let’s get going.”
Gwyn rolled to a seated position and put his right arm up like he was trying to make an ‘X.’ The left arm was still too limp for him to move it.
“No, thank you! I’m not playing along with this stuff anymore, especially in a dream!”
King Whitlock began to grit his teeth.
“Whatever, I was supposed to take you somewhere, but it seems you can’t see the path.”
King Whitlock walked close to Gwyn, and the scene around them faded into darkness. New shapes began to come into view out of the blackness. It took Gwyn a moment to adjust to the new setting, but he was soon standing in a dark forest. Trees sharply jutted up out of the ground, and their bare branches made a chaotic web that caged off the sky above them. Only a narrow path cut through the dense woods, and the trail was uneven and covered with thorns.
Gwyn shuddered and was surprised to realize he was standing; he had not made a motion to get up. Yet, his leg and arms moved like they should.
King Whitlock moved next to the Nonpareil and pointed out in the distance, down the open path.
“Be wary,” the blue king said.
The forest suddenly was ablaze, the fire created a new cage above their heads, and Gwyn found himself choking on the smoke for a moment.
“Just a dream. Just a dream. Just a dream,” he said to himself before he could calm down. The Nonpareil's attention turned back to where the king pointed. Four creatures he had not seen before were moving across the ground. The simple way to describe them was somewhere between a snake and a centipede, and Gwyn found them hard to look at out of sheer disgust.
A creature that most resembled a bat flew in low, passing through the fire as if it was either not there or was no concern. The long animals on the ground moved their heads to the winged one. What happened next, Gwyn wished he hadn’t seen.
The creatures on the ground merged into the body of the one in the air. They bit at the winged beast and then melted into it. Forming what looked like arms and legs. After a minute of metamorphosis, the form looked like a humanoid with giant bat wings. Gwyn shivered.
Though it was far away, Gwyn could tell that the form was taller than him and possibly Rheba. The two large wings stretched out, and it soon flew back though the fire and out of his sight.
“Come, we should move forward,” King Whitlock grumbled. He tried to move to where the horrifying sight had just occurred, but Gwyn fell to his knees and trembled.
“Just…” he managed to spit out.
King Whitlock shook his head and gently lifted Gwyn off the ground.
“It seems you are not ready, but you will face more tragedy if you don’t go now.”
Gwyn pulled himself away from King Whitlock and tried to run. His legs moved, but he stayed still and unmoving.
“Mem! Fiona! Someone wake me up!” he shouted.
The blue king put a hand on Gwyn’s shoulder and shook his head.
“While I am glad to get away from you, you have hardly grown. Let me offer a word of warning… no, you won’t be able to hear what I have to say.” King Whitlock sighed as he saw Gwyn was not giving up on his sprint, which carried him nowhere. “Fine, then let me say three things I’d like you to do. After which, you will wake.”
Gwyn realized he wasn’t getting anywhere and gave up on his running. He nodded, then let his head remain slumped as he listened.
“First. Watch over my daughter. She will find out… well, just stick by her side, and you’ll know when the time is right. Second. Speak to the mayor of Nun when you wake up, then relay what happened to Donn if you return to Quenth. I have a feeling you’re more likely to listen to them anyway. And Last. You will forget the finer details of this dream after you wake up, but there will be a point when you are reminded. When that comes, we will meet again. Also, I want you to learn some manners before that happens.”
Before Gwyn could reply, he was suddenly staring at the hospital ceiling. His body was covered in a cold sweat, and he couldn’t help but shake as a chill consumed him. He knew he saw something disturbing, but the imagery was quickly fading, and all the Nonpareil could think was that he had had a nightmare.
“Hey, you’re awake!” Mem said gleefully off to the side while Gwyn grappled with every aching part of his body. “I’ll go get the others!” the Needaimus added before flying out of the room. Several nurses screamed as the blue metallic creature sped by.