Medicine Lodge Vision

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The smoke fills your lungs, making you feel strange. The chanting continues, seemingly from all around you. It is difficult to keep your eyes open. You can feel an emotional connection opening between the circle, and flashes of light and noise intrude into your mind. Between jumbles of images, sounds, smells and memories that pass to quickly to identify, a number of scenes stand out, like rest stops for an otherwise runaway train. Each of these scenes is in the first person, like a memory, but most of them haven't happened to you.

  1. Regret of the Sun is tied to a table of black obsidian. He is covered in cold sweat, making him even paler than usual, with a slight blue tint to his skin. His caste mark bleeds into his eyes. Hovering above him is a six foot magnifying lens of some kind, filled with oily smoke. Light suddenly streams into the lens from above, focusing through the smoke into a wispy point on Regret's navel. He screams as the light burns him, but his cries turn to spasming coughs, increasing in violence until an inky sphere of light shoots out of his mouth and through the lens, becoming a brilliant miniature sun. Regret collapses as the sun darts around and a putrid black malevolence oozes from the top of the lens.
  2. You stand on a pyramid, the setting sun making skin the thousands of lizard-men rushing up the steps of the structure towards you appear orange. A bow of solidified sunlight is in your hands, and you start firing. With unnatural speed, you empty three quivers in under a second, sending scores of the beast rolling back down. But now you are out of arrows, and the beasts keep coming.
  3. The most opulent throne room you have ever seen is largely dark. You sit on a throne made from the massive sculpted bodies of five dragons, carved from each of the colors of jade, their heads looking in at you in deference. The robes of your Immaculate Order are sacrilegiously open and the only light comes from the gorgeous redhead on your lap. Your reach your magic into her pleasure centers and she rides you with wild abandon, fire in her eyes, and starting to flicker on her skin. She turns her head skyward as she climaxes. For a brief second, reflected in the white jade dragon head above her, you think you see her eyes flash with a sickly green light, but then your own climax washes over you.
  4. The sights and smells of the Little Market in Nexus surround you as an argument breaks out several stalls to your right. This gives you a perfect opportunity to pick the pocket of the man you've been following. You take one look around before making your move, and stop dead in your tracks. You don't know who she is, but as your eyes lock, you are struck dumfounded. You must look it, because the dark skin of her face erupts into a pearly smile, and you suddenly know you were supposed to find each other.
  5. You watch the horses graze as you approach the tent. Anxiety and regret fill your belly, joining the strange pull southward that you've been feeling for weeks. You return the guard's salutes as you enter the tent. A young, but white-haired, man sits at a simple table, his features perfect as always. He is uncharacteristically engrossed in a book laid flat on the desk, and seems not to notice you. "Griffin?", you hear yourself say. He looks up, but even startled he seems calm as ever. He closes the white, feathered cover of the book and stands to greet you, smiling. You continue, saying something that's even harder than the battles you just won: "I'm leaving".
  6. Human eyes growing in the bark of the trees watch you, the branches reaching down like four-fingered hands towards you, but shying away from touching you at the last second. Something like a fruit falls from one of the trees, unfolding into a cluster of bark-covered arms that scuttles around blindly. The light becomes dimmer, evidently the sun is setting. Bushes below the trees suddenly bloom into bright red flowers, a furry pod forming at the center of each bloom. As the sun sets completely, the pods leap out at you like flying, carnivorous squirrels.
  7. You feel eyes upon you suddenly as you walk through the jungle, the morning mist causing the pale dawn to dance. The gaze from above is curious, meaning you no harm at first, not until you slowly turn to look up at it. Once you lock eyes with the panther, you can hear its heart beating, feel the rushing of its blood as if it were in your veins. You are part of each other. Your blood must become one. It is inevitable. The panther's curiosity turns to realization that to be united, one of you will have to die. It pounces from the tree, spreading its jaws to lock around your throat. But the tusk of the mammoth you killed the night before is in your hand, and the cat moves too slowly. It's body still twitches reflexively as you rip loose its beating heart and drink.
  8. A blizzard of multi-colored flower petals makes it difficult to see your target, barely making out her monstrous form of somehow unearthly beauty. As you get closer, and see her back, your attack seems true and lethal but, at the last second, an androgynous, bald person with pointed ears and covered in colorful paint and even more colorful silk makes an impossible leap and intercepts your blow with its neck, sacrificing itself to protect its master. You nearly take its head off, but an almost religious fervor burns in its eyes and it continues to fight you, not yet realizing that its been killed.
  9. You stand overlooking a room dominated by a fountain with a golden statue of a winged woman with a spear. The sides of the room are covered with intricately crafted glass birds of all breeds, sizes and colors. Two steps lead down to the fountain. As you step on the first step, the name on the statue becomes clear: Wyr'palja. You can see the fountain is filled with coins of all kinds. The glass birds begin to chirp, call and ruffle their wings.
  10. You are looking down at your hands, watching three arrows appear in your hand. As quietly as possible, you take out a silk strip covered in writing and wrap it around one of the arrows. All the while, a sultry woman's voice speaks behind you, and you can feel her words trying to work into your soul. A heat, both emotional and litteral, washes over your back in waves. "Surely you can see by now, my love," she is saying, "that it is too late for me to change. I don't think I would want to, even if I could. Come, let me show you Creation through my eyes. Together we can build a perfect world." You feel her draw near and look over your shoulder at her, smiling meekly. She stands with a concerned smile, clad in a black wedding dress. Her red hair has been replaced with strands of living fire that corescate down her back. Her eyebrows also burn, flames rippling up into her flaming hair. She reaches a hand toward you. You hesitatingly reach back with one hand, drawing closer. Then, with the head of the arrow gripped in the other hand, you spin suddenly, smacking the woman dead in the face with the tail of the arrow. She looks at you, stunned, but you feel the arrow has started to drain her will. You hit her again.
  11. A child with a glowing gem in her forehead coughs as you hold your hand over her bedridden form. Black and greenish bruises mar her face and chest. The room is very strange, with walls and most of the furniture made of metal and a slight smell of burning oil pervades. As you reach out with magic to destroy the sickness inside her, you can feel this disease is like no other you've ever encountered. It takes much longer, but you guide the essence through her body, and watch the bruises fade. Exhausted when you are done, you turn to an impossibly tall woman with jade machinery of some kind woven into her flesh, even replacing some of her limbs. She looks at you with concern as you hand her the now healthy child and say "It is the Great Contagion".
  12. As you run through light forest, screams drift over the hill in front of you. The stench of burning flesh hits you as you crest the ridge, the tents and wagons of the entire circus engulfed in flames. A man in red jade armor, flames crackling on his skin, prowls the carnage, stabbing any bodies that are still moving. A woman in black jade glows bright blue-green as she roots through a chest outside of the burning wagon of the circus owner. A third man in jade, more difficult to see, is tossing dead bodies, impaling them on a row of pikes that line the road. As you get closer, you see the face of your mother on one of the bodies, hanging in air next to the rest of your family. The jade men are joking to each other. They don't have long to live.
  13. In darkest night, you kneel on the bare rock of a high promontory. As you upend a ceramic bottle of lamp oil over your head and coat your naked skin with its contents, you can hear the ocean crashing below, but it is too far away to see. The only light comes from a torch held by the only other man up here, the lunar Jaguan. He faces you, lifts the torch slightly and asks if you are ready. You are terrified, nearly out of your mind. You reply as instructed: "The night station is called fear." Jaguan calmly, almost casually, tosses the torch into your lap. Your screams split the night as your flesh burns.
  14. As the huge, bloated form before you writhes, shapes of miniature men with weapons or flags form rise and fall within its skin. A strange song fills the air, like the voices of thousands of men singing in an unfamiliar language, as if in a march or protest. As you approach, full sized weapons, mostly spears but sometimes axes or even pots and pans, sprout and retract from the otherwise shapeless body. As you watch, a portion of skin rears back, as if sucked into the beast slightly from within, then quickly expands, shooting out a small, jet-black human-like form, armed with a spear, but otherwise featureless. The tiny man lets loose a shrill scream of surprise as it spirals rapidly toward your face, limbs flailing.
  15. Your target looks out at the undead hordes from a balcony of black iron, his black clothing billowing in the wind. As you approach from behind, he pulls the front of his hood down to his chin. The back of his cowl lifts from his neck to the top of his head, revealing a frowning mask on the back of his head. With a crack, his limbs reverse direction, the backs of his withered hands becoming palms, his thumbs reversing. Eyes now flare at you from behind the frowning mask. Your black sword blocks a devastating attack you didn't even see coming, only the perfection of the sun preventing you from being cut in half. You won't be able to take many more blows like it. In your left hand, a small bundle of fur pulses.
  16. You stand in a large dojo. Through the few open windows, you see large creatures of wood, like living trees, standing guard. Beyond them, cicadas sing in a thick forest mixed with pine and oak. Your trainer stands before you, an attractive, dark woman with almond shaped green eyes and a braid of thick black hair hanging down her back to her waist. She calmly says "again", and you attack. After exchanging a number of blows, she is suddenly behind you, grabbing you in some kind of hold. You move to respond, but your left side goes suddenly numb, and she pins you to the ground, climbing on top of you. "Watch for your opponent changing styles," she says, looking down at you smiling. Then she kisses you.
  17. A creature with the body of a horse, the tail of a dragon, and the long neck and head of a peacock cantors up a large boulder and peers over the tree tops. It looks back at you, and makes a number of unintelligible squeaking noises. After receiving no response, it almost seems to slump, then its skin begins to shine as some kind of spectral form lifts from its body. As the form begins to take shape, the creature sprints away. The wispy strands of the specter coalesce into the ghostly form of a man at least twelve feet tall with a long, prehensile tail tipped with a cluster of wicked looking quills. He hovers upward a few more feet then points over the tops of the trees, though you are still to low to see what he does. It gives a friendly smile and says in a haunting deep voice "that way".