Midnight Sun's Dream
IC date: Autumn 57
OOC date: November 15
Location: Dreamland
PCs: Midnight-Sun Dream-Daze
NPCs: N/A
GM: Applejack

One lonely evening, in a library. What kind of library? It's a pretty decent library. A cozy library. With piles of books here and there and everywhere, scattered about, surrounding this dusty ol' desk with a single closed tome resting upon it, with two merrily flickering candles set on the corners.

Aside from the candles, there's not a lot of light to illuminate the vast amounts of bookshelves upon bookshelves of books, extending on into utter darkness. This little corner of the library has all the light, dim as it is.
Midnight-Sun is never quite as home as when he is in a library. He belongs back in the stacks, putting together the findings of others — not out in the world experiencing the secrets of the world at first, dangerous hoof. And what could be better than an ancient book he's never had a chance to open before? He feels the old tingle as he lays hoff on the cover, says absently, "Check it out, Sophie! What do you think is in there?" Probably old accounting records. It always seems to be old accounting records. But it might not be this time! He holds his breath and flips open the cover.

It's a fine book! Leatherbound, hardback, latched with a little golden clasp to keep it shut. Not locked, no, but clasped shut. It's obviously a very special book! The candlelight only helps illuminate this fact.

Once unclasped, the cover opened, the first page appears to be…blank. At first. It takes a few moments for words to appear. A title, which reads in very flowing, cursive print:

"The Life and Death of Midnight Sun, by Midday Moon"

The candles give a single flicker, as though a sudden, momentary breeze just blew by.

Midnight-Sun can't help the gasp or his ears flicking back as the title reveals itself. To say nothing of the shiver at the shuddering of the candles. For long seconds, he stands still, transfixed by that title. Sophie the spider leans forward from her perch on his head, then shrinks back to hide behind his ear. It does not remotely hide her. He licks his lips. "No." He looks up and around at the shelves looming in the dark. "Looks like somepony's been in the joke books again." He looks back down at the title page, sets his hoof on it. "We'll just find out which one it is and reshelve it." And he turns the page.

The pages seem to fill in with ink and text as the page turns.

'It was a dark and stormy night…' the text reads. 'A flash of lightning and a crash of thunder lit up the skies around the Great Canterlot Library, where Midnight Sun had chosen to spend the night due to the storm that raged furiously outside the stonework walls.'

A flash of light suddenly illuminates the entire library! Followed by a dark and ominous rumble of thunder… A whistle of wind and patter of raindrops on glass windows somewhere punctuates the stormy weather going on outside.

'With his trusty spider riding on his shoulder, Midnight wandered the dusty old halls, stumbling upon a musty corner that looked like it hadn't been visited in aeons. Upon a desk, where a pair of cheerful candles gave off a cheerfully flickering light, was a book. It looked special. Intriguing. Old. "Check it out, Sophie! What do you think is in there?" he said, prancing to the desk to open the book, throwing the cover open!'

This is some kind of joke book! A spell to do that so precisely would take some doing. It would have to be able to feel ponies around the book and find words and phrases to match events as they occurred. The scope of the magic thrills Midnight for a moment. He knows a surprising amount about magic theory for a pegasus and the cunning of the spellsmithery is astonishing. "Wow! How is this in the library and not locked up?" He reaches out for it again when his ears twitch at a thought. Wait. Had he read that line about the crash of thunder *before* the real thunder? His ears abruptly splay as a shiver of fear goes up his spine. He withdraws his hoof, eyes the cheerfully cheerful candles and looks around at the dark stacks again. He takes a deep breath. No. He's imagining things. Misremembering. He reaches out again. Flips another page, his vision swimming uncertainly for a moment.

Another page turns. The text is shrinking. Getting smaller as it goes across the pages.

'Something struck Midnight as odd about this book. He began to read it, but the pages were blank, only filling in as he turned page after page. It was a biography. HIS biography. It talked about his birth. His life. How he met his best friend and got a job at the Royal Canterlot Library. And finally how he found a mystical book in a forgotten corner. A book, that engulfed him utterly. A book he never escaped from and, to this day, looks for another to drag into the pages with him!'

On the other page, the words have shrunk down to nearly a line. Barely recognizable as letters and symbols, they no longer go in straight lines. They twist, they curve, they form…pictures! A picture of a pony's head. Of dangerous eyes, a muzzle open in a twisted cackle, and hooves outstretched off the edges of the page! Reaching for the reader!

Midnight-Sun jerks his hoof back as though burned, wings mantling as he tries instinctively to take to the air. Sophie scrambles for purchase in his mane — a familiar sensation, almost comforting amidst the panic shocking his eyes open. If this is a joke book, it's completely effective and terrifying. He desperately scrambles back to get away from the grabbing bookbeast!

The words don't stop when they fill up the page. The 'picture' of a thousand words seems to animate itself. Letters crawling, the figure depicted reaching /out/ of the book. One hoof, then the other, its ghastly head rising from the paper, hollow if not for the text that makes it. Forehooves reach for the fleeing pegasus, the book having taken on a hollow look, as though this creature lurching from the pages were taking the guts of the book with it!

The flames flicker and dim as the creature of word and ink surges forth, dragging itself out of the book bit by bit, 'eyes' locked on Midnight and his spindly spider companion!
"Buck this." That would sound more badflank if didn't come out as a yelp. Midnight Sun gasps as terror squeezes his heart, wings spreading and beating instatly to get him away from that… horrible unbook. Bookbeast? Book you can really get into? Sophie seizes hanks of mane as he gets airborne, holds on tight as he flips around and zips towards the looming stacks and safety. He doesn't even realize that he's screaming for help.

As Midnight-Sun begins to tear through the library, leaving that room, that desk, that wordy beast behind, the library is plunged once more into darkness. It would be utter blackness if it weren't for the barest hints of moonlight peeking through the occasional break in the clouds through the intense storm swirling around the building, casting the barest hints of light here and there. Bookshelves as far as the senses can detect, windows every so often where the rain patters upon, but the halls of books seem nigh endless. Infinite even.

The complete darkness thus makes it easier to detect the faint orange light that seems to be growing from that distant point way down the hallway. Along with the faintest trace of a very distinct, and familiar scent.

Burning parchment. Smoke. /Fire!/
Midnight-Sun's heart seems to be trying to strangle him. His vision tunnels and he falters in mid-flight. Fire?! Here?! Instinct stops him in his tracks, turns him around — some other direction is surely safe? — but a fear deeper than the fear of getting burned seizes him almost immediately. "No. I'm not going through that again." The words tumble out of him unbidden, his voice cracking as he hears what he's saying and it terrifies him. His entire body shivers as he wheels it back towards the orange flickering. And giving himself no more time to think about how afraid he is, he races. Towards the fire.

Charging back through the halls of books and shelves, lightning flashes several times to keep the path lit with an otherworldly glow. It seems to take forever to backtrack even half of the distance, the orange ball of light getting bigger, the smoke scent getting stronger, and before Midnight gets to step hoof back into that room where he left a certain mystical book behind, the shelves in front of him erupt within twin pillars of flame! Fwoosh!

From between these pillars, IT steps out. A creature made of ink and word, vaguely pony-shaped, blinking 'eyes' and rearing its head back and forth, mouth opened as though laughing at the world. The two candles that had flanked its book now float in the air near the creature, touching the bindings of books here, there, setting them ablaze before the bookworm's very eyes! But the creature… The creature has its gaze fixed on Midnight specifically, loping towards him with a slow, measured, and very deliberate gait.

This is not a normal fire! This is not a normal fire! Midnight Sun throws on the brakes. Sophie slides precariously forward on his head, falls past his face; he doesn't even notice reaching out and catching her. He's too busy staring, ears trembling, eyes flicking. If he gets near that thing, he's on fire or eaten. Not an option. But the books are burning in its terrible glow! He needs a weapon, something to stop it, something to "HELP! SOMEPONY HELP ME!" He's got time to yell, it's coming on slow. And the only weapon to hoof is the library itself. Seized by a mad spark of inspiration, he takes off for one of the bookshelves bordering the beast's path. Leans his back against it, pushes it as though to topple it. One of the books slips from the top shelf, tumbles towards the abomination…

Bookshelves tumble! A bookshelf, anyway, filled to overflowing with so many thick, heavy novels and research tomes! The creature pounces, looking to all the world like some deformed pony-puppy made of ink and paint, bounding the corner and…

*THUNK!* All the books come tumbling down! Followed by the heavy bookshelf itself, crashing to the floor! The creature's look is curiosity, mixed with surprise, disappearing beneath the tide of paper and ink! Behind this mess of fallen book the two candles shudder and stop, resting on the floor, inches away from another pair of books. Fires rage behind them… There's so much fuel! How can they not spread? Whatever else was in that corner of the library, it's likely on fire or ash by now.

Midnight-Sun's expression is one of horror as he personally sends books to their fiery demise and they… bury it? What? For a couple of beats, he just hangs in the air, trying to proces that that worked. Then he dives. All the more distant shelves are afire, all the places that the book beast touched with its candlependages. But it's down! A surge of hope seems to give his wings strength, and for a moment his placid expression looks more like that of a fierce pegasus warrior of old. He swoops on the fallen candles, looking to grab them up and extinguish them and *then* run off to find the fire department. What's taking them so long, anyway?

A shudder from the bookshelves rises behind Midnight as he extinguishes the light from those two small candles. The toppled shelves, the books, they all start to quiver, to flutter. Covers fly open, pages flip in the air, and words, /words/ begin to tumble right off all of the pages! So many letters swirling, turning into a sort of inky soup amid all the books, and from this… The beast rises again. Bigger than before! This time with a suit of armor made from some of the books that had toppled upon it. This time with wings. Those extinguished candles float up to replace what the creature had for eyes…and when they focus on the smaller pegasus that had tried to crush it with more literature, both of the candles burst into a deep blue flame!

This time the creature has a voice. A sharp, sinister whinny that echoes off the walls and makes the burning fires blaze ever brighter, encroaching ever further across the shelves, engulfing more books, more timeless tomes! A splash of the fire lands upon the beast's armor, promptly setting that parchment ablaze, adding a furious aura to the creature! This thing now glares down at Midnight and his little spider companion, snorting smoke, leaving a trail of sparks where it paws at the ground, with a wingspan broad enough to be knocking bookshelves over of its own accord!

Midnight-Sun can't. He just can't. Shame surges hotly into his cheeks as he squeals in terror and runs! Another library burning because of him, another mountain of irreplacable knowledge to choke the breath out of him at night. Weeping freely, a tiny spider hanging on to his mane for her life, he *runs*!

The library shifts and shudders beneath Midnight's hooves. The ground changes, grows thin and papery. Bookshelves melt away, turning into text and ink. Within moments Midnight is fleeing across a giant book! A book with one side on fire, and a great beast of word and fire chasing him down like a juggernaut!

But the juggernaut isn't the only giant thing around. Once the 'library' has changed into a single massive tome, with Midnight and the Juggernaut flipping pages in their endless chase, eight dark, red eyes rise up from the edges of the novel. Eight red eyes, a distinctly arachnid head, and a pair of gleaming mandibles much like a sharp pair of scissors, clicking in the air!

If that weren't enough, there's a third new figure! But this one's small. Almost as big as the spider guest clinging to Midnight's mane. Riding on his back, nestled between his wings, a little blue filly has popped up, looking around the iminent nightmarish scene with big amber eyes. So dangerous! Her head ducks down, but her horn lights up, and a voice floats in like a whisper on a breeze, a voice echoing within the fleeing pegasii's head:

It's just a dream..! If you wake up It all goes away!

Midnight-Sun is surrounded on all sides. Except UP! He vaults into the air from the run, ears flicking fitfully to chase off the voice distracting him from the vital task of flapping his lungs out. He doesn't have breath to say "hold on tight!", he just hopes for the best as he climbs desperately above the monstrosities ringing him.

Taken to the skies! The juggernaut is left behind, snorting a hot gout of flames out its nostrils at the fleeing pegasus! Left to burn in the pages of its own book…

But the other creature seems to have no such limit. Those eight red eyes focus on Midnight as though a mere fly on the dung pile of existance. A massive head rises, up and up, easily overtaking the flying pony's flight path and looming large, a mass of spider so big its bulky body disappears into the shadows all around! Those scissor-like mandibles click and lunge at Midnight-Sun, surely trying to snip him out of the air!

The little passenger on the pegasi's back hangs on for dear life! There's naught more she can do than that, trying to look past Sophie at the other terror looming in front of the flighty pony. There's an almost audible gulp, amber eyes closing as she tries again!

It's no use! Nightmares always catch up! You have to wake up to end this! Wake up! Wake up!

Wake… up? What? That's insane! There's a giant spider trying to eat Midnight like he was a little fly. Or, well, an extremely large fly in the case of Sophie. He swoops down out of the path of the mandibles, then jinks aside, but it's no use! There's no getting out that way! There's gotta be some way… there! He dives, trying to get inside the Nightmare's reach. What? Nightmare? Why was he thinking like that about an ordinary enormous spider? There! He might be able to lose it across those flames! Just has to go fast! And… low! And… ah! The hoof jerks back as though burned because it *is* burned. No! No forward, no down, no up, no back, no out!

No escape, no escape! Both of the giants seem to know this, too. From above and below, the two beasts converge, a fiery mess of an inkblot pony reaching a hoof out, fully intent on either swatting or singing Midnight out of the sky! And a great spidery beast, much bigger than this little nightmarish world, with sharp clicky shears for mandibles making a metallic scrape of sound every time it comes close to snipping the pegasus! Is it to be an endless game of tag then? Until he's too tired to fly anymore and falls into one trap or the other?

As terrifying as it all is, it needs to end somehow! The little filly along for the ride screws up enough courage to climb up the pony's back, clinging around his neck! All she has is herself, and this voice… A voice Midnight is not listening to. A voice with urgency as it pleads.

Please! None of this is real! It's a dream! But if you don't wake up…

The voice trails off, just as the fiery pony below inhales a deep breath, fires churning in its hollow, word-decorated body. Above, the spider's reared back, eight red eyes shining in the otherwise utter darkness, preparing for a great lunge!

Midnight-Sun tries to snarl an angry retort, but he has no breath. He thinks it anyway: /Don't be stupid, Dream Daze, they're going to kill us!/ Fear and rage and boil in his chest as his wings struggle feebly to keep him aloft, and what does *Dream Daze* know anyway? She's lucky he picked her up and is… wait. Picked her up? What? /None of this is real!/ suddenly… almost make sense. Almost more sense than the… giant spider and… bookbeast and…

He wakes up.

As the dream images fade away, there's two sounds left over to echo in that precious space between dreams and reality. The first is a roar of rage, a combined screech from spider and nightmarish horse railing at the prey that got away. One of many lately…

The other is a sigh of relief, and two words left over to float up to take a momentary spot in conscious thought.

Thank you…

Midnight-Sun does not have a gentle awakening! Hot wax spilled on your foreleg will do that! Fortunately, the candle put itself out when it toppled, but the wax has made a huge mess of the papers that were spread out on his desk. Wimpering, he shakes his hoof, splattering wax everywhere. His heart is still pounding, and not just from the pain. That was… what was that?