Story for the Day: Hallucinations
I was writing a piece in one of the later books in which Rautu has a hallucination. Twisk and I both discussed what would be his worse nightmare. Here it is:
There, swirling along the beams of the stone ceiling, were two large floating strawberries. They seemed in want of his attention, making silent beckoning to be touched, to be admired, to be tasted. They drifted nearer, bouncing about with weightless oscillations. This cannot be real, was the giant’s first cogitation, but the closer they came to him, the more fearful he was. Deliberately assaulting him with their delicious rinds, impressing their succulence and sweetness upon him was all his horror. He stood from the table and stepped back, evading their gyrating attacks. They sang to him, called out his name in inviting tones, glittered and glistened under the dim light, professing themselves delicious and remarkably fresh. “Away,” the giant bellowed, his hand gripping the hilt of his sword.
|Twisk drew this after I wrote the piece. This drawing is brilliant.|
He looked down when his heel hit something and upon perceiving that there was an enormous spider crawling along the ground, Rautu sprang forth with his sword in hand, roaring in violent fury as he plunged his weapon into its enormous body. He hacked, he hewed, he crushed the remaining pieces with the flat of his blade, but still the spider crawled about, remaking itself with alacrity and moving toward its aggressor with a strange complacence. Magic? was the panicking notion as the Den Asaan stepped back, aghast and agape at the petrifying creature. His bane, his nemesis would approach him; the idea was excruciating enough, but that the creature should be undying was an even greater vexation. A spider that would eternally mock his distain with its presence: there was a notion which he could not and would not accept, but an even further mockery was upon him when suddenly, as the spider drew near, it suddenly stopped, stood on its hirsute hind legs, and began to dance. Rautu’s sword hand dropped to his side, his lips parted, and he stared at the display knowing not what to do. That he must be dreaming was his only consolation to this impossibility, yet he had not fallen asleep at the table. Had he surrendered to the convulsions and fallen unconscious without being aware? And then he heard a familiar voice calling him: Iimon Ghaala?
“Iimon Ghaala,” the commander repeated, trying not to expose her apprehension. Her mate was lying on the ground, his frame wilted and his eyes rolled back. His convulsions had been so violent as to propel him from his seat and hurl him to the floor. She had rushed to his side and raised his head while Ladrei shouted for more milk. Water should only exacerbate his malaise, but in her quickness and urgency, she had taken a glass of water from the table and splashed it against her mates face.