Dreams of Fire in the Forest

Red Kelp, dryad, sat on the stone cliff, gazing out over the tremendous sea. She shivered. Even in the spotlight of the noon sun it was difficult to remain warm. From a side saddle on her scooter, she fetched a thick sea captain’s coat.

Red drifted to sleep, the warmth of the coat and its perfume — Strawberry’s perfume — easing her into an unintentional nap.

Red Kelp dreamt of fire.

As a creature of the forest, married to a creature of the sea, fire occupied the top tiers of fear in her constantly anxious mind. Red dreamt of fires raging through her home, eating it like candy. She dreamt of desperately trying to summon magic that would extinguish the flames — failing, making it worse by breaking up the fires into smaller chunks that quickly grew. Soon everything was fire. She dreamt of smoke and embers and —

A gentle kiss broke the nightmare’s hold. “Hey sailor, swimming my way?”

Red Kelp opened her eyes and was greeted with the beaming face of Strawberry, her wife, her sweet mermaid, her champion against all destroyers and horrors. Red Kelp kissed Strawberry again and again, wrapping her arms around her neck. “I missed you, too!” Strawberry giggled in surprise at the very amorous hello.

After Red let go, Strawberry kissed her wife softly on the tip of her nose, then poured herself into the scooter’s sidecar. She could tell something was amiss but left it alone until the dryad was ready to speak on it. Quiet, introspective, Red preferred to shape problems fully before asking for help.

Red Kelp kickstarted the scooter with a soft brum-broom-brooo-o-o-o-m.

They set out along a scenic path home, winding their way through the forests and glades, checking to ensure each was safe, noting healthy signs of growth and active protective magics. Everything pointed to the dream just being a dream, a product of a troubled mind.

“I went to the market on the way to the shore, leaflet, I got some sea slugs and eels. Hm, if you don’t like them, I’ll make you something else for dinner,” Strawberry began, “and can you believe that local kraken is being called a monster by the Nautical Heroes of the Light Lands?! Kelpie! How could they?”

Red Kelp listened with quiet joy. She drove home in silence as Strawberry talked the entire ride, bouncing from topic to topic, gossiping about people and creatures and places completely foreign to the dryad. After the third bend in the road, Red Kelp was able to relax.