Dream: Mosaic Memories

I don’t document my dreams as much as I used to, and I really should change that. I like to think I have pretty good ones, and I should do something more productive with them, like flesh them out into projects or stories.  Last night’s dream probably came from a short discussion about historic-regression post-apocalypse as a genre* I had with Pipistrella.

I dreamt about a group coming across some ruins, basically just the walls and floors of some medium sized estate.  Just a few semi-intact walls, a floor and bits of a roof and upper floors, arranged around an inner courtyard.  The area around the ruins was littered with numerous broken imbrex and tegula (those iconic ancient Roman roof tiles).  Within a central courtyard, they discovered a dusty fountain with dozens of curious holes along its inside wall just large enough for a person’s forearm, but no one was brave enough to reach inside them.

Inside the largest and most intact of the villa’s rooms were a few low stone benches and traces frescoes depicting nature, mythology and various flourishes, all of which were clearly Roman in style. None of these depicted human figures, however, except for the far wall into which was set a life-sized figure of a Roman man composed from thousands of small glassy mosaic tiles.

The details of the man in the mosaic were hard to make out in the shadows of the remaining walls and partial ceiling, but when the room was lit by torch or lantern, the myriad tiles immediately caught and magnified the light.  At first, the effect could be confused for a trick of the light, the image shifting slightly and that classic illusion of linear perspective made it seem like the eyes were following the viewer.  But after a few seconds of illumination, it became clear that something far more wondrous is occurring.

In a stutter of motion and sound, the figure begins to move and speak. Although, still an image of two dimensions, it is talking to someone beyond the borders of the mosaic, which only show a small portion of a room much like the one in which the viewers now stand. As he moves, the terrible scraping sound of the tiles grinding against each other can be heard.

“Julia, take the children to the darkest corner of the cellar.  Block the passage with whatever you can move.  I will hide the doorway from this side as best I can.  Do not emerge until you hear my voice or silence for a full day…  No, I cannot.”

The man looks over his shoulder and yells “Go, NOW!”.  The mosaic figure stutters and flickers and the man is now taking a short, broad sword down from the wall, discarding the sheath in a single swift motion.  His stance is limber but resolute, focused on some point beyond the scene visible in the mosaic.

A gray and white haze begins to obscure portions of the mosaic and the man coughs.  Soon the haze is joined by the orange glow of lapping flames.   Shortly thereafter, he is only a dark outline, collapsing.

The mosaic goes dark for a few minutes before clearing to reveal the figure of the man the viewers first saw.  Again his eyes follow the viewer, except this time they lock on to the nearest viewer and asks “Where is the 9th? Did Cerialis send you?”

The figure now communicates with the viewers but seems unaware of his state, time and events since the fire.

Already thinking of how I would run that scene in a LARP,  even though I don’t have a why/where.  🙂

* That fiction genre where modern day society regresses to an analogy of a previous era so closely that it is indistinguishable to the reader… like, you think you’re reading about the American old west, but its actually a setting where the post-apocalypse is a near-perfect analogy for that historic period?

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