In some humanoid lizard form, Starchild was sunning herself on a high branch. Below, lesser branches of her tree and others in the jungle intertwined in a loose canopy, then the trunks disappeared into the mist. There was probably ground or something past that. She didn't know, didn't care; she was sunning, and it was glorious.

Just as she was considering turning over, the sun dimmed. She frowned, but didn't open her eyes; it might go back. Distantly, she heard water, perhaps a waterfall.

The soft schuff, schuff of scales on bark announced another presence, her Jeeves, swishing his tail obsequiously against a branch as he walked. She opened one eye. He was approaching on a branch a few feet below the one she was sprawled on, placing his eye height just below hers. He was wearing a black tie, and carried a tray with a tall blue drink.

He slowed to a stop a respectful distance from her. "Your cocktail, madam."

Starchild picked up the drink, shifting so that her muzzle wasn't buried against the branch. "Thank you, Jeeves."

"Certainly, madam." He bowed slightly, then turned to leave, swishing his tail obsequiously against the branch as he walked.

Starchild lapped idly at the drink and rolled over to examine the sky. It seemed less energetic, less vibrant… dimmer. Off to her left, exactly where she expected it, was the inevitable waterfall.

Then thunder and lightning, and her head jerked around. A raindrop fell, exactly in her drink. She narrowed her eyes and ejected it back out, as rain began to fall all around her.

I'm dreaming. She forced the sound of the rain to dull, and raised her voice. "Jeeves, go ahead and take the rest of the night off." Without much attention to his distant reply, she gulped down the rest of her drink and ripped a linear tear in the transient reality at hand. Caressing the edge, she stabilized it, adjusted it until it caught on the Deep Dreaming, then gradually widened it.

She caught herself grinning madly, and composed herself; that made it easier to don her customary dream-form. Like a human teddy-bear, she was a cute bundle of simple shapes. Shiny blue shoes, a plush green bodysuit, short straight hair — a reference to her real form — and a blank cypher for a face. With a gesture, she summoned Trueblade to her hand, all spikes with a straight, gleaming edge.

She then slipped through the tear, into the less-mutable reality of the Deep Dreaming. As it closed behind her, the sound of the rain returned to full.


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