[Write something inspired by a recent dream you had.]
I got nothing for the prompt…so I’ll write a short story about a dreamcatcher!
“The time has come, younglings.”
Within a large, open courtyard stood five people, four of which were lined up before the fifth, who was obviously their superior. Besides them and a chilling wind, the courtyard was empty, giving a solemn feel to the atmosphere. It didn’t help that the ‘younglings’ were visibly terrified, their legs shaking and faces sweating.
“If you four wish to be promoted from younglings to clansmen, you best survive. Death is the only consequence of failure in this test…”
The elder paused, giving the four children in front of him a stern glare through his thick mustache.
“… Except now. You may choose to give up before it begins, thereby keeping your life safe from harm. However, giving up in this instance means forever losing your chance at becoming fully valued members of the clan.”
He glared at the children again, but this time, a glint of pride could be seen sparkling in his eyes. None of the four younglings before him, whom he personally trained, lacked a spine. Yes, they were incredibly nervous, but everyone was at first, because they were given no information at all on what they were to face. The mystery shrouding the all-important test they were to take was the most important aspect of it, and the kids were passing so far.
“Now, close your eyes and summon your equipment.” The elder ordered.
Not wasting any time, the younglings clenched their eyes tightly and raised their right arms in unison, their palms open. Suddenly, motes of light sparkled into existence around their outstretched hands, swirling in a helix pattern for a few seconds before gathering and condensing into objects, which the kids grabbed. Now in their hands were weapons.
One boy had a fan, another held a whip, the only girl conjured a saber, and the last boy used a staff.
“Keep your eyes closed, hold the lotus position, and lay your weapons across your lap.”
The children obeyed, doing as told. Once they finished, the elder took an item out from his robes and held it out in front of him. Within his hand was a dreamcatcher made of jade—the item at the center of the coming-of-age test the younglings would soon partake in.
The jade dreamcatcher was an ancient treasure which had gathered dream aura for hundreds of years with the power to create an illusory world of the user’s imagination. The dreamcatcher was highly valued by the clan which held it, because it allowed for the clan elders to subject their fledgling warriors to a battle of infinite difficulty which will kill them, but only the illusion. That way, the young fighters can experience a life-or-death fight and ultimately die without actually losing anything and only gaining experience.
However, for the training to work, the kids would have to believe that the illusion is real, which is why no information of the test was allowed to circulate. If the truth got out, they who spoke of it were to be put to death.
The elder sat down and channeled his internal energy, activating the dreamcatcher and allowing himself to be pulled into the illusion, which was a replica of the courtyard the five people were really in. Now in the illusion, the elder smiled, then ordered the younglings to get up and open their eyes.
The test had begun.