Sunday, November 30, 2014

I awoke dreaming of encounter charts…

What finds you in the wilderness?

1- Nothing, a great, existential nothing - Landscapes quickly shift to empty, wide desolation. Even so, the stars are distant and dim. Sunsets happen quickly, when you are not looking. There is no breaking beauty only ugly open isolation.

2- Fear, ancestral and barely remembered – It stalks you. Staying in shadows it is always nearby. You know it is near; you smell its hateful musk wherever you turn. It knows you know. You can feel its toothsome smile on the back of your neck.

3- Beauty, a velvet-lined trap – It is perfect here. Brookes babble merrily. Birds sing a slow but cheery song. Soft powdery scents slide through the gentle breeze. The sun shines gently, a perpetual golden haze. Numbing joy fills your every fiber. The ways out are harsh, sharp, and uncomfortable: mazes of thorns that keep turning back to this blessed place. Why would you leave this flowered forest? No task has meaning here.

4- Lust, a strange visitor – Androgynous and achingly beautiful, an ethereal being beckons you from the path. The clinging perfume of honeysuckle and overripe fruit caresses your nose. Desire burns hot in your belly. Hunger flares within your chest. The being will never step towards you; this perfect creature was meant to be pursued.

5- Gluttony, a boisterous bacchanal – In the midst of the food-starved wilds, satyrs and fauns call you by name. Their voices are song, and they dance about great tables. Rough-hewn boards are loaded with piles of sausage and cheese, great jugs of sweet wine, flowing fountains of brown beer, heaps of ripe peaches, many legs of hot ham, great white loaves of buttered bread, cakes of exquisite shapes  scaled in sugared almonds, game birds baked with honey & thyme, and here and there punctuated with candied castles. The feast never ends, and it is very rude to exit before the host gives you leave.

6- Envy, glittering prizes always in another’s grasp – In this place, golden necklaces are scattered about the path, and your companions gather them with ease; all you find is painted lead. When you best shining knights and claim your winnings, their armor and swords turn to rust and dust. Your companions gloat in their new finery.

7- Greed, easy conquest and rich rewards – Here even the shepherds hold kingly jewels. The roughest smith can craft lordly arms. Jeweled dragons are kept as pets like cats. Within this bitterly cold valley, the next village always has better things: finer armor, softer beds, richer brews. And always for a shilling more than you can afford. Gold is easy to find here, but there is never quite enough of it.

8- Wrath, hellish heat and hot rage – It is far too hot here. The vistas slowly shift to reds and yellows. All beings here challenge and belittle you. A knight might ride by and call you craven; he will laugh merrily when you strike him. The very stones whisper your secret failings. Roots and shrubs mock you and titter at every failure. It is all but impossible to stop fighting until all your enemies lie bleeding before you.

9- Sloth, viscous and slow – The air is thick; it pushes back against you like water when you move. It is hard breath unless you are still. Your eyelids droop heavily. Crickets halfheartedly strike up their song. Should you sleep you might never awaken, but you will dream of lazy days and still contentment.

10- Pride, cool success awaits you – The breeze is cold but refreshing. Things come easily here. The grass sings in the wind of your greatness. Even the rudest villages know your name. They sing songs of your glory. Feasts are held in your honor. They’ll beg you not leave. Nothing comes easily in the surrounding hills.