Digital Dreaming 1.10: “Paying the Troll”

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“So that’s where he got off to.”

“Making himself useful and saving his own skin at the same time.” Val smiled and shook his head.

“Let’s catch up, before something else happens.” Sand lengthened his stride.

“What exactly did you do back there?” Val asked. “I know I was a bit dazed, and things happened pretty fast, but…”

“I pulled out a dream copy of you out of your subconscious and put my plan into your head at the same time.”

“A dream copy?”

“We call it a fetch. It’s you and not you, to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the dream you were having.” Sand shrugged. “Let’s just call it a highly technical concept and leave it at that.”

“The fire was a nice touch. Particularly with a troll.”

“The water was trickier.”

“I was going to ask you about that. What happened there?”

“You know how they say eyes are the windows to the soul? Well, they’re also a gateway into the subconscious, and gateways and windows can be opened.” Sand wiped a stray drop of water from the corner of his eye. “Pouring the ocean out was actually fairly straightforward compared to just opening the way for it.”

“You tend to keep an ocean in your subconscious?” Val raised an eyebrow at that.

“No, but you’d be surprised how often human beings dream of the ocean.”

“Even in the Midwest?” Val smiled.

“Even in the Midwest.” Sand grinned. “I mean, a lake would have worked just as well. And there certainly are a lot of lake dreams about. It wouldn’t have been as easy on my eyes, but—”

“But an ocean was?”

“What? You’ve never heard of saline eye wash?” Sand glanced to Val. “Where’d you get that sword, by the way?”

“That? My mother’s a valkyrie. In addition to making my life difficult, that little curiosity of my birth gives me a certain affinity for the aurora, and, light being light…”

“Sympathetic magic sorta thing?”

“Sorta,” Val agreed.

At that moment, they drew close enough to Vorinn to pick the will o’ the wisp out of the trees. The raven flew down to perch on Val’s shoulder.

“Took you long enough,” he squawked.

“The troll was tougher than he looked,” Val replied.

“You couldn’t just pay him and have done with it?” Vorinn cocked his head to one side.

“The price he was asking was just a bit more than we wanted to pay,” Sand said dryly.

“Although we did manage to settle accounts rather satisfactorily,” Val added.

Vorinn just croaked softly to himself and stepped from foot to foot.

Ahead of them, the will o’ the wisp bobbed on.

To Be Continued…

Next Time, on Digital Dreaming: “Misleading Wisp-ers”

New Installments Posted Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday!

Author: Trip Galey

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