I dreamt of a Japanese-style teahouse built of wood and stone jutting out from the side of a darkly enchanted mountain. A harmless old woman lived there, the Keeper of the Keys. I and two friends were greeted by her in the tea parlor where we were served fresh-brewed strengthening potions in ceremonial cups, to carry out a mission she needed us for. She clothed us in vivid turquoise for spiritual protection. “The ghouls of this mountain have grown unexpectedly restless,” she says. “I need you to help me clean house.”
Deep into the side of the mountain tunneled the caverns behind her teahouse home. Burrowed chambers of abandoned vaults gave way to spider’s webs and the remains of small, dead beings. We came to an empty well that was a hundred feet deep, and twenty feet wide. In the middle was a hanging rope –for swinging across to the other side?
Suddenly, there appeared a monstrous humanoid skeleton thirty feet tall, swinging on the rope over the well, slashing at us with its claws. It was a terrible sight with it’s big, hollow sockets for eyes and its sinister grin.
I drew out my candlestick from my sheath, the one I have dreamt of before. In these dreams I carry it with me when we need light. The monster swings at me, but my wax candle, as if it were diamond, meets his furor with solidity and he falters. Quickly, my friends lay down a plank of wood across the well and I run out to where the menace dangles, momentarily bewildered on his rope, and I cut him down. He falls back down the hole to be seen and heard no more.
Returning to the parlor, all the little dead beings whose bodies were trapped in the tunnels become alive again, and give a cheer for us. The old woman robes us in rainbow-quilted cloaks of rejoicing designs detailing our particular powers gifted to us on our quests. The balance was restored to the mountainside and the Keeper’s tea tasted better than it ever had before.