Everybody's a dreamer. -John Lithgow
Gawain jerked awake at the light touch of a hand on his shoulder. He remained tense and frozen for a few seconds, startled by the unfamiliar surroundings. At last the anxious and newly familiar voice registered by his ear. "Milord? Milord, are you all right? Milord?"
The young man propped himself up on one arm and rubbed his eyes, willing his heart to stop pounding. "I'm fine, Terence. Thank you for waking me. Is Tor still asleep?"
The boy who would be his squire remained wide-eyed and frightened. "He went to fetch wood for the fire. Are you ill, milord? You look like you were ill."
He shook his head. "No, it was just a bad dream."
The boy's nose wrinkled in confusion. "…A dream?"
Gawain blinked. "Surely you know what a dream is."
"I know a dream is something you want to do someday," he said, frowning. "An ambition. A goal."
"Yes, but that meaning starts with the dreams you have at night."
"What do you mean?"
He rubbed his forehead and sat up. "I know you've lived a sheltered life, lad, but surely you've had a dream before? It's when you're sleeping and your mind sort of shows you images. Like watching a play, except you're a part of it. And things don't make sense sometimes. There are good dreams that are pleasant to watch, and bad dreams that are sad or frightening. The worst ones are called nightmares."
The fearful look returned to the boy's face. "That sounds like magic."
"If you annoy a sorcerer, they could be. But mostly they're just like memories, or fantasies. Things your mind just conjures up while you're asleep." He eyed Terence curiously. "You really didn't know what they were?"
Terence shrugged. "I've never had one. And if Trevisant did, he didn't tell me."
"Well, aren't you a puzzle?" Gawain said, scratching his chin. "You sure you just don't remember them?"
"Who could forget something that played in their heads?"
Gawain chuckled. "You'd be surprised. They're common enough that it's easy to forget them."
"Oh." The boy thought for a moment. "No, I've just never had one."
Tor came back into camp then, adding his armful of logs to the depleted pile by the fire and stirring up the flames with new fuel. Gawain offered to take watch, since he was already up, and Tor, who'd been yawning as he walked back, curled up and nodded off almost immediately. Gawain propped himself up against a tree, one eye on the fire and one on the darkness between the trees. "Go to bed, Terence," he said, catching a glimpse of the boy's movement by the fire. "We should reach Camelot tomorrow."
Terence, his head too full of dreaming to try to sleep, wrapped himself up in Gawain's spare blanket. "…If the dream you just had was bad," he asked, "what was it about? What did you see?"
Gawain fidgeted. "…If you have to know, it was about my mother."
"…Wouldn't that be a good dream, then?"
"Not with my mother."
"Oh." Terence rolled over, and Gawain heard no more from him that night. The time passed slowly, and he found himself yawning just as badly as Tor had been when next the other man woke and sent him to bed. Gawain fell asleep quickly and dreamed of his home in Orkney again. This time, however, when his dreaming self turned around quickly, he could see a flash of cloth and brown hair as someone darted just out of sight.
By morning, it was forgotten.
So I've finally decided to do something with the headcanon I've been teasing into most if not all of my ST stories and I really hope you guys like it. More chapters coming as I write them. I hope to have this story finished by November, or at least before November's end; it shouldn't end up being too awfully long, knock on wood. Or don't, I guess, if you want a long one, but I'm knocking.
The Squire's Tales series is the brainchild of the perfect, beautiful, wonderful Gerald Morris. Any characters you see are his, and have been conveniently kidnapped for torturing and snuggling purposes.