Assurances from Kalif laid his compatriots fears to rest as they bedded down on this their last night in the wilderness. Elturel was less than a day’s travel away and the bright orb of The Companion gleamed unmoving on the horizon. The night was fair and little broke the silence beyond summer insects and the munching of the horses on their fodder.
The adventurers’ sleep was disturbed only by their own inner struggles. Dreams fanciful, purposeful or grim and dark broke the monotony of the darkness beyond shut eyelids.
A land of stark contrast stood Kalif in his dream. Upon his right the land was lit and fruitful, fair clouds drifted lazily in a clear blue sky. Upon a marble dais, an ivory throne with markings of the boot and mace sat a grey bearded dwarf with pauldrons in the shape of wings. A grim frown was born on his face and sharp scrutiny in his eyes. To the left of Kalif the land was shadowed and there was great toil in the fields. A great mountain wreathed in fog rose in the distance, a single mote of intense orange light near its crown. It seemed to him he had one foot in either place and stood upon the border of shadow, though he cast no shadow himself. As he shaded his eyes to see better into the distance, a rough hand on his shoulder jerked him from slumber.
Barley clutched the carven case of fine wrought animal figurines in his slumber. Though he knew his birth family not, it seemed to him the figures were of old family pets. Many adventures he saw, flying or running with each in turn until he awoke with a start, their names which were on his lips a moment before, vanishing has he rubbed the sleep from his eyes.
Visions of colored dragons swirled in Navarre’s mind. Small statues of them seemed to writhe and unite into a glowing mass. Real dragons flew overhead in a silvery sky it and seemed the sun grew white hot. A thin silken strand stretched into the void where the sky split and a great dark five headed shape clawed its way to freedom. The dragons overhead shrieked in accord and welcoming. The statues on the ground seemed to mirror every move of the great unstoppable shape. It loomed huge overhead and blotted out all light in the land about it save for the silken thread from it to the statuette and what appeared to be a single tear of molten metal falling from the sun. It grew large in Navarre’s sight and dodging away before being seared by its heat it smote the ground showering him with hot rocks and grit. Turning towards the crater he could see what was clearly an egg of shiny, white metal graven over its entirety with flowing runes. There seemed to be a sort of lid or hatch to it, but of a latch he could not see. Harsh human voices came to him and the scene faded to be replaced with a half dozen horses in white barding bearing riders in plate mail with red tabards bearing the symbol of a golden crescent.
One of the riders was on foot shaking Kalif vigorously awake, and two others were in the process of also dismounting. The remaining three sat impervious behind shields with lances at the ready.