Dream Daze's Dream
IC date: Autumn 77, 1008
OOC date: December 13, 2013
Location: Dreamworld
PCs: Dream-Daze, Makuru
NPCs: N/A
GM: Trixie
The world of Makuru's dream this evening is strangely flat. Not in a "level" sort of way, mind, but in the "no third dimension" sense. The grass underfoot abruptly becomes the distant horizon in a way that makes it look like it was pasted into place by a foal, Objects that ought to be far away do not seem to shrink with distance as they ought and the trees that stretch across the mountainside all appear to grow from the same line. Nothing seems properly colored, either — everything is in shades of blue and purple, trees and ground and sky alike. Nothing here casts a shadow even under the pale light of the full moon above. It is in this world that a little zebra colt walks, his gray body with black stripes both in stark contrast and yet blending in with the cool shades of the night.

It is also in this world that a second little foal has appeared! A little blue unicorn filly, prancing along silently behind the grey and black colt, whistling sounds that come up as little black notes on the two-dimensional background.

The whistling prompts Makuru to glance over his shoulder, a wide grin on his face. "Dreamy! I'm glad you're here, I could use an extra set of hooves tonight." He turns and begins walking backwards. The backdrop of trees and grass continues moving past the pair at a steady clip, their strange two dimensionality making it seem more like they are scrolling past than anything else. "Do you want to help me look for flowers?"

Dreamy flashes a grin. "Is that what your project for the night is? Flower arrangements?" Another couple of hummed notes, rising up on the pasted background like a pair of black bugs, and the little filly bobs her head. "Sure~ What's the occasion? Another bouquet for your momma? Anything to keep your dreams nice and pleasant, right?"

"I'm making a bouquet, yeah! It's not for momma, though. I want to find a gift for Princess Luna," Makuru replies to Dreamy, his voice light and cheerful and starkly at odds with the coldness of the blue mountainside around them. "The sky has been so sad lately… the stars hardly shimmer and the moon doesn't shine like it used do." Amber eyes turn skywards to stare at the white orb that hangs pendulously above them, far larger than it ought to, feeling less like the real thing and more like a caricature. It certainly LOOKS as bright as it always is.

"Sad?" Dreamy wonders, her head tilting. The difference between colt and landscape is not lost on her! "But how could it be sad? I thought your dreams had been getting better…" Hadn't they? Certainly not every one of them has been a nightmare! Dreamy peers up at the sky, at the moon, looking so…close. Menacing, almost. Something about it makes her edgy. "Luna…" the little filly repeats, her tone soft as she resumes bouncing after the striped colt. "Why for Luna..? Because of the sky? I don't think she has any control over how happy or sad it looks…"

Makuru shrugs and turns around to walk forward again. "I dunno! It just seems like if the sky is sad then she must be sad, too, 'cause she controls the moon. Doesn't that make sense?" As the pair walk they reach the top of a cliff. Makuru turns to walk down its length, keeping a safe distance from the edge. He may be dumb sometimes, but he's not stupid! "I hear that some of her favorite flowers grow here in the White Saddles. Papa says that they're very rare, but impossible to miss! Just look out for big, blue lilies!" Because blue flowers on blue grass under the purple sky will stick out like a sore thumb.

Dreamy shrugs again as she follows along, peeking at the cliff's edge, into the valley below. "I suppose it does." she admits, keeping one ear quirked and her other one splayed sideways. "It just seems a little silly to me, that's all. Picking blue flowers for a pony of the night…" A moment or two later, she trots a little faster to catch up the bit of space she had fallen behind. "How many have you found so far? How you gonna get'em to her? Why're you doing it in a dream..?"

Makuru maintains his pace so it's a simple enough task for Dreamy to catch up to him. "I haven't found any yet," he admits with an embarrassed smile. "Like I said, they're rare, but I'm sure they ought to be around here somewhere!" He also doesn't have an answer for how he's going to get them to her, and as for why he's doing it in a dream? "What are you talking about? In a dream?" Looks like he's stuck in the story again. That seems to happen a lot. Ah well, it's probably better for him that way.

Up ahead, growing in a bed at the cliff's edge as well as in cracks going down its face, flowers a shade darker than the grass are growing. How incredibly convenient!

The little unicorn clucks her tongue. "I thought you…ah… Nevermind. You know me, always talking about dreams and stuff." A moment later the cliff's edge looms! And with it, the coveted flowers… Dreamy peeks past the dream-colt, at the great field of flowers. Despite how silly it seems to her, the walk has been enjoyable enough, sad sky and everything. "Well now! Isn't that convenient? You found them! All the big, blue lilies you could hope for!" She gives the other foal a bump, one flank against another. "Enough for a princess, right?"

"Uh-huh! Wow, they're more beautiful than I thought they'd be… look at the markings on their petals." The little potioner giggles at the rump bump and trots to the edge of the bed. He places one of his hooves on a stem of a lily and gently tilts it toward Dreamy, the two dimensional image of the flower somehow both remaining perfectly flat and yet turning so that she can see its face. "Blue with a black splotch, and in the center of that splotch a white crescent." His lips turn up into a gentle smile. "They honor the Princess by showing off her cutie mark for all to see." Black muzzle twitches and gray brow droops, the cheerfulness draining out of Makuru's expression and leaving him melancholy. "These used to grow everywhere, but now you can only find them really far out of the way… they never form beds like this anymore." He takes a few steps forward and lies down amongst the blossoms, breathing deeply and letting it out as a heavy sigh. "I wish I knew why she…"

Dream-Daze hums… She picks her way around to peer at the odd lily, and the way it very much resembles a certain famous cutiemark. "Huh." she says. "Isn't that somethin'. A flower that looks like a ponybutt." Giggling at her own slightly off-color joke, it takes the little filly a moment to realize something suddenly seems off. Sigh? From a normally too-happy colt? This can't be! Not while she's trying to keep Bad Things At Bay! Nudging one of the lilies with a hoof, both of her ears tip back near her head. "Why she…what? What's with the blue mood? You were just bouncing a moment ago.."

The little zebra colt doesn't respond. Upon closer inspection it becomes clear that his eyes have closed and his breathing slowed. Seems Makuru has fallen asleep… is that a thing you can do while you're dreaming?

High in the sky the moon continues to shine. It seems darker than it normally is. Perhaps that's because of the silhouette left by the craters that mar its face. If one squints they seem to blur together to form the shape of a foal, sad and alone. Perhaps an earth pony or pegasus, from the lack of horn.

Dreams have a tendency to be odd. This is nothing new… But for once the oddness is not the little filly's fault. Dreamy gives the snoozing zebra a nudge. Then a second nudge. "H..hey. You can't..sleep now. That's against the rules! You…" But she doesn't quite finish that thought, glancing up at the sky, catching a glimpse of the moon. The moon and its oddly recognizable shape. A shape she stares at for a long moment, as though trying to confirm it wasn't one particular possibility. "Sad pony sky…" she murmurs under her breath.

The world darkens for a brief moment. Since Dreamy just so happens to be to be looking up at the sky when it does she'll notice a large, winged shape passing in front of the moon. It almost disappears against the purple sky but a studious observer will see it dive into the trees on the mountaintop.

Studious is what Dreamy may have been at that moment. Little blue ears perk right up upon spotting the new shape. Something foreign..? Something not her? And certainly not… …well. The little filly glances down at Makuru again, giving him one more nudge with a forehoof. "Stripeybutt. I think we've got company. You should probably wake up and greet them."

If Makuru didn't wake up when she nudged him before, what makes the unicorn think it will happen now? He continues to snooze quietly amongst the gray flowers, muzzle witching as he dreams some unseen dream.

Between the trees there is movement. Maybe. The matte blackness that fills the trees in lieu of shadows is not exactly the best backdrop for conveying movement but nonetheless it FEELS like movement. Oh, also there are cyan eyes gleam from darkness, glowing with an inequine light that illuminates none of the pony's face. Those are a little out of place. Their slitted pupils focus on Dreamy. "You are far from home, little foal." Regal, haughty, and yet with venom dripping off of every syllable. "Tell me, do you fear the night?"

"Against the rules…" Dreamy mutters again, unable to rouse Makuru at all. "This is your dream, you shouldn't be snoozing in it." The little filly begins to pace, back and forth around the edges of the flower bed. "I didn't give you this dream. You're doing this on your own. Which means maybe it's like a…movie. A movie dream. Which means maybe it's a nightmare after all. Which means—EEK!" Eyes! Dreamy hops back two full steps, back onto the cliff road, braced in a defensive stance, at the pair of eyes that seem to just hover amid the dark backdrop. "W..who… N..No…" Cough. Scuff. Dreamy straighens herself up. "No. I don't. I especially do not fear any night in someone else's dream! I could just…leave!" Hop! Hop! Bounce! Probably more emotion than she should be showing, Dreamy spins around with her head lifted. Scoff. "What do you know of foals and homes anyway! You're just a figment of his mind… There's absolutely, positively, indubidoubly nothing to be afraid of!" This last comment comes with a single stomp of the filly's hoof. That's final!

That's final? Oh, not hardly. Darkness begets darkness as a pitch black hoof steps out of the gaps between the trees, clad in a slipper of frozen starlight. The eyes clean over pointed teeth and beneath a helm of the same metal, which does nothing to hide the mane of sky that billows from her head and neck. "What do you know of dreams?" the alicorn hisses as her wings half-unfurl. "You cannot leave, because there is one nightmare which plagues all the dreams of Equestria… and that is Nightmare Moon!" She takes a step forward, movements light but purposeful.

Nightmare Moon! So that's what the face in the moon was… Of course it was! Who else could it have possibly been? There has ever only been one Mare in the Moon, after all. It makes sense. Dreamy can't refute this claim. The proclamation of the visitor forces the uppity filly to turn about and face the mistress of Nightmares, doubt lingering behind her eyes, masked only by a feeling she doesn't normally have in what she considers her own domain. Fear? In a nightmare? But it's not her nightmare…

Nontheless she holds her ground, head craning up at the much taller night-bound visitor. "D..dreams are my world." she states, her voice more subdued than it was moments ago. "They're my realm. T-this isn't my dream… So I can leave! Go scare him, it's his dream! I was just visiting anyway…"

Of course, it must have been the Mare in the Moon up there! Of course, and this is just hypothetically speaking, if the face hanging in the sky was Nightmare Moon, and she's now standing here, why is the cratered silhouette still up there…?

The black alicorn snorts dismissively. "Your world, little foal? Oh, no, no. Dreams are my domain! I am the haunter of the dark!" She takes another step forward, casting her gaze towards the colt that Dreamy indicated, still snoozing away in that bed of flowers…

"…what's this?" Nightmare Moon's expression twists foully into one of disgust and barely contained rage. "You would… mock me by plastering my mark across insignificant plants!?" Her eyes and horn glow brightly, a pulse of magic surging through the air and making Dreamy's coat stand on end. That moment of warning, a fraction of a second at best, is all the unicorn will get before a great beam of light blasts forth, striking the ground at Dreamy's feet and cutting straight through it, sweeping across the edge of the cliff and straight through the bed of flowers. Those that aren't vaporized instantly begin to move backwards as the entire cliff edge, severed from the ground, sloughs off into the darkness below… and Dreamy along with them if she doesn't move!

"Eep!" squeaks the little filly, as the hair of her pelt frizzes out, followed by the intense burst of energy blasting into the flowerbed! The cliff, cut open! Rocks starting to fall! What's a filly to do?

Leap! Put those legs to use, silly filly! Dreamy bounds off, from crumbling ledge to presumably somewhat safer ground! But what of Makuru, still in the flowerbed? The little filly spins around where she lands, casting out with her magic, seeking to try and grab something…any part of that sleeping colt, using what magic she has in the world of dreams to try and levitate the poor snoozing boy out of danger as well!

"Should just…let him fall…" she whines to herself, backing down the path, glancing at the towering imposing figure of an evil alicorn! "Maybe he'd wake up from this stupid dream… That'd teach you when you disappeared back into nothingness!"

Dreamy grabs something, alright, but it's not Makuru! What she thought was a hank of tail hair is really just a hoofful of plant roots. Oh well! At least he'll wake up and eject everypony from the dream when he hits the ground, right? Wherever the ground is down there…

Cold and merciless eyes glower once more at Dream Daze, those yellow slitted irises meeting her gaze, challenging her to put her magic where her mouth is. A striped hoof steps forward, black muzzle curling back into a snarl as the alicorn's masculine voice growls, "Insolant foal… there is only one walker of dreams!"

The filly's pupils shrink, her magic coming up empty! "Maku!" Alas, she doesn't have a chance to creep to the edge of the cliff again to see the foal's true fate. …and anyway it shouldn't matter, right? Because he will fall, until he stops, and wakes up! That's what happens. That's the rules.

That's the only thing keeping Dreamy from panicking now, her magical glow fading to drop the roots into the abyss with the rest of the flowers and rocks and pony falling. She's still backing up! Dream-alicorn or not, nopony can behold the fierceness that is Nightmare Moon without feeling at least a little bit intimidated!

Dreamy opens her mouth, likely to make a sharp retort again, but something stops her. Something that she suddenly realizes, that brings the doubt forefront to her face, mixing with a sudden shock of fear. "How… How do you know this is a dream? You're just a figment of his mind!" she cries, hoof waving franticly at where the falling colt used to be laying just moments ago!

How does the alicorn know? Isn't it obvious? "Because I am the Nightmare!" he shouts down at Dreamy, another striped hoof stomping forward heavily. There's nowhere to run now that the cliff has become an outcropping that drops into the abyss on either side. She could try to retreat, sure, but how many steps will she get before she reaches the edge? Four? Five?
Nowhere to run! Nowhere to hide! Dreamy backs up, and up, and nearly stumbles off the cliff edge! "Eep!" she squeaks a second time, starting to hunker down on the cliff road. "No! You aren't the Nightmare! I am the Nightmare! Nightmares belong to me!" Amber eyes squeeze shut, the filly huddled on the edge of the cliff. "Go away! Go away! Why aren't you gone yet! Maku wake uuuuuuup!"

All is darkness beneath Dreamy's eyelids. Surely if she can't see it then it can't hurt her. Nevermind the those footsteps as Nightmare Makuru takes another step forward. A second. A third. Closing the distance. He's not going to stop. Not until he does what he came here to do…

There's a strange sensation around Dreamy's foreleg. It's warm and comforting and most definitely doesn't belong to such a terrible creature as the zebricorn that was approaching when she closed her eyes.

Every step brings a new squeak to the filly! The continual hoofsteps, the closing distance, those piercing yellow eyes…

Yellow?

Realization comes too late, the warm, comforting touch bringing a shrill, but short-lived yell rising from the filly's throat! "No!" Forelegs flail! Windmill! And then land on the cliff road, the filly left panting, wide-eyed, and incredulous. "Makuru! You!?"

Dreamy's perspective is suddenly much higher, although 'perspective' in this storybook world is such a subjective thing. She is definitely taller, though, by a significant amount. Her horn may feel strange and foreign upon her head with its added length, and stars only know how she'll ever get used to the wings on her back.

And as for the warm feeling around her legs? It's the little zebricorn, back to foal sized and gripping a blue lily in his teeth. The flower bears a white splotch upon each petal, and within each marking is a single, red heart. He's stumbled back from the rearing and flailing, landing on his back and looking up at Dreamy with amber eyes that want to help and comfort. You're not a nightmare, he says without moving his lips around that flower. Please don't be sad… I want to see you happy. He gets back to his feet with a flap of his little foal wings for extra leverage and takes another step forward, head held high to offer Princess Dreamy his gift.

So confusing! From her new vantage point, Dreamy is now looking down at the colt, flower and all! A zebracorn colt? Panic fades swiftly as Dreamy catches on to the flow of the dream, forelegs planted, confusion ebbing to a momentary look of…anger? Fear? Jealousy? It's difficult to say, but it fades quickly as well, Princess Dreamy adopting a smile and a sigh. "Y..you're right." she murmurs, dipping her head to first accept the flowery gift, and then to curl a foreleg around the now-smaller striped body. "I'm… Not sad. I'm fine. I'm happy. I have friends. Friends…" Her ears splay and flick back. "But how… How did you…"

I came out to the White Saddles and picked it! Makuru 'says' with a wide smile. The book at the library said it was your favorite, at least until you got mad and burned them all up. All except the ones that grow in the cliff faces, 'cause you couldn't see them from up here. He hugs her again when she pulls him close, eyes closed and nuzzling her other foreleg happily. He's so happy that she's happy! …and the sky is happier, too! The stars glimmer like diamonds and the moon is positively radiant in the night sky.

For a moment Dreamy pauses. Pauses, looks up, and stares at the skies. The glimmering stars, the radiant moon, the whole scene looking…better. She was the target of this dream? But…

"I don't…" she starts to say again, but can't quite get the words out right. She settles for further hugging of the colt instead for another long moment, amber eyes closing again, the barest hints of moisture collecting at the corners of them.

Makuru doesn't say anything. What is there to say? The Princess is happy, the night is clear and ponies will be able to rest soundly without having to fear from Nightmare Moon. And all it took was… a flower…

The stars begin to wink out one by one, drowned out by the flickering light of candles that encroaches from all directions. The dream is ending! Makuru pulls away and beams up at the blue alicorn. I know what it is! he exclaims joyfully. You're gonna be so happy, Dreamy, it won't be much longer before I can help you!

Yellow eyes flutter open and look around blearily. "Princess crescent," he mumbles as he tries to get too his hooves, stumbling off the unfamiliar cot hidden behind the reference desk in the Harbor Library and running into a stack of nonfiction. Louder: "It's princess crescent! That's her flower!"

Midnight-Sun winces, snapping open bleary eyes. "Whu? Eh, no, stahp," he grumbles blearily at the book of myths serving as his pillow. He'd *just* gotten to sleep, too! Stupid pile of books falling over in the middle of the night for no good reason. Wait, was that a voi— Midnight sits up sharply, glasses askew. Sophie doesn't wake up fast enough and tumbles out of his mane. "Who's there?!" he yelps out. Then he clears his throat, tries a more stallionly voice as the pillow's title sparks a memory. "Makuru? Is that you?" He pours our of his chair, heads towards the desk, some vague idea of comforting nightmare-stricken foals buzzing in his head.

Makuru doesn't need comfort, he needs books. "Princess crescent!" he repeats as lucidity slowly takes hold of him. "My papa told me about it, and I think it's what one of the stories was about! It's Princess Luna's flower! That's the link to the dream magic!" The little colt trots in place excitedly, completely oblivious to the librarian's own sleep-deprived confusion. "Help me find something about it, Mister Sun! Please! It's super important! For Dreamy!"

Midnight-Sun rights his glasses and peers over the desk at the excited colt. His coffee is long past cold; he bolts it anyway, making a face. Placebo effect abruptly wakes him. "Well, come ov—" His voice is rusty; he clears his throat. "Well, come on, then. Let's have a look in the book and… no, wait, better idea: *you* find the story and tell me about it, *I'll* dig through the catalog for anything that relates." Archivist's Lore engages on autopilot. "If you can get a description or a habitat or other names, that's particularly important." He stands there, blinking a few more seconds, then snaps at his hooves, "Well? Git!" and they sleepily carry him towards his station. Sophie, meanwhile, has clambered up the desk and found the mug empty. Owwell, her new friend is awake! She vaults for his head.

Makuru catches Sophie on his head and gallops around the edge of the reference desk back to the work table they'd been reading at earlier. "It was in the first… third of the book?" he says as he flips open _Eternal Night Across Equestria_. "One second, I'll find it… it's the one where Nightmare Moon destroyed all the flowers 'cause she thought they were making fun of her…" And so the evening goes.