So we landed, in a place that looked just about as futuristic as you can imagine. There were air ships coming and going, and people walking around with things levitated around them.
Since I didn’t know how to levitate stuff yet, I had to carry my things on my back, like a pack mule. I didn’t feel particularly out of place since most of the students queuing around me also didn’t have a clue how to levitate stuff, and were, for the most part, looking just as lost and confused as I was feeling.
The dorm room I was given was a tiny little thing, but it was cozy and comfortable. I looked around, made sure I knew which door was mine, and then I walked over to the head master’s office, since I had been given the directive to meet up with him as soon as I landed.
The headmaster’s office is large and filled with all sorts of things. I wandered around, looking at his things and trying to make heads or tails out of whatever it was I was looking at. Some objects were just outright strange in that ancient dusty fashion, while others looked seriously complicated in an extremely high tech manner. The odds and ends were colorful and jumbled, as if a careless collector had just upended a huge bag filled with gadgets from across the universe.
As I looked at the things, more formulas and mathematical equations sprang forth from them and downloaded into my mind via my eyes. It would seem then, that those equations were what would be needed to use those gadgets to do whatever it is the gadgets did.
“Ah. Glad to see you made it safe and sound,” a voice greeted me amongst the jumble of colorful strange things.
It was an older man, dressed in the richly appointed robes that, presumably, would be what the headmaster of the school wore. He seemed nice enough, but he had a strange knowing glint in his eyes as he stared at me. His lips twisted with an odd smile, which led me to wonder if there was something about me that was not quite right.
Now, before you even have to ask, I will state for the record that this man was definitely NOT Old Dude, whose eyes I could always spot, no matter which physical body he took on. My new headmaster, was a completely different entity.
He led me over to his office and pointed to the chair across from his desk, and we proceeded to have a long chat about all sorts of stuff–random stuff which I don’t quite recall in the waking state.
I do remember that we talked for a long time. He asked me all sorts of questions, and I answered as best as I could. Then he left the room and I found myself just sitting there with nothing to do.
As I continued to await his return, my eyes were drawn to a board game he had, splayed across the front of his desk. It was so large that it took up most of the desk space. Feeling a little bored, and without much thought, I started moving trees and houses around in haphazard fashion when a woman ran into the room.
“Don’t touch any of that stuff!” She yelled out. “The Headmaster does not allow anyone to touch that board!”
I withdrew my guilty hands, feeling remorse. I really knew better than to touch other people’s things without permission, but in my dream state, especially lucid ones, I sometimes think I’m just making it all up and I can do whatever I please.
“I’m sorry.” I whispered.
She stared at me for a moment, and then sighed with something akin frustrated resignation. “You are the only one that could get away with this. He doesn’t allow anyone in this room, let alone touch his stuff. Nobody even dares to poke their head in here, and yet, he leaves you alone in this room!” She continued berating me.
“I can’t believe you have the nerve to start moving trees and buildings around, and all he does is laugh and shake his head!”
I stared at her in confusion as she pointed to the open window. Following the direction of her finger, I gasped as I saw the scene of confusion below. I had certainly uprooted trees and buildings, and they were now in various helter skelter locations.
From where I sat, I could see the Headmaster down below, reorganizing the houses and trees back to their original locations. As he levitated the structures back into place, I noticed that those items also moved on the board in front of me.
Ah! So the board itself was a miniature representation of the actual school grounds. Of course he would not want anyone to touch it! I was about to say something akin to profuse apologies when the Headmaster appeared in between us.
He had with him, a boy with a sullen demeanor. The boy looked as if he did not want to be there, but was too intimidated by the Headmaster to say anything.
“It’s okay,” he said to the woman. “You may leave us. No harm done.” He dismissed her and then indicated to the boy to take a seat next to me. Then he wound his way to his seat.
“Since you are an advanced student, I need for you to look after this student for me,” Headmaster said.
I looked up, thinking he was talking to the guy, but no. He was staring straight at me, as the poor guy fidgeted and looked down at his shoes.
I swallowed, suddenly realizing he meant for me to look after the male student. But I had just arrived. I literally knew nothing about the school, let alone what I was supposed to be doing. How was I supposed to assist another person?
In front of my eyes suddenly appeared an electronic file. It was filled with images and information about the boy. I flipped through the pages and as I did, the information streamed into my mind, regarding his status.
It seemed, the student had been something of a troublemaker and truant throughout his life. His family, a noble house of great wealth and rank, had turned their backs on him, striking the boy from their family will and disinheriting him.
He was, in essence, the paupered prince.
Cut loose from the family’s structured protection, he had turn rogue, joining one nefarious warring faction after another. It was during one of their frequent and bloody fights that he had finally been picked up and brought to the school, as a last ditch effort to rehabilitate him back into the folds of civilized, normalized society.
How I was able to understand all this from a quick perusal of his file, I have no clue, but it certainly explained why he was so silent and sullen.
I glanced over at the guy sitting beside me. He was, for all practical intents and purposes, a homeless vagabond with no family and no future. He glared back at me, baleful and dejected, and in no small amount, embarrassed that I had been able to read his entire bio in a matter of seconds.
I sensed that it was too soon to talk to him, so I turned back to the Headmaster.
“So what is it that you want me to do right now?”
The Headmaster leaned forward. “Have you heard of this game?” he indicated at the pieces on the table. “It’s called Life,”
“How do you play it?” I asked.
The Headmaster grinned and produced, from his pocket, a set of dice. “The Game of Life is easy. You roll the dice and move the characters to wherever the dice land.”
“But the things on this board actually happens out there,” I muttered with growing alarm at the sudden thought of what would happen should a real game be played.
“Yes. Yes it does,” he grinned wickedly and without remorse. “It all depends on the dice.”
“But what if you roll a really bad number and someone is horribly affected?” I asked with dismay.
“That will never happen,” he said with a chuckle. “Not unless I wish for it to happen.”
“They’re dice. How can you control the end result?”
“Watch carefully,” he replied. With a flick of his wrist, he threw the dice onto the board.
Ignoring the dice, I stared at the Headmaster’s face in amazement. His steely grey eyes were narrowed, focusing on the dice, even before they hit the game board.
I quickly glanced at the dice faces and hissed with awe. The dots were changing in the middle of the throw. I caught my breath as the answer suddenly hit me.
It didn’t matter what the value of the dice were. I knew beyond the shadow of doubt that upon landing, they would display whatever the Headmaster wanted the numbers to be.
I could hear the dice rattle as they bounced a couple of times before landing. Sure enough. At their final resting place, the dice had changed yet again, to show the number of dots that the Headmaster desired.
“You see, my dear.” He indicated at the dice. “It is your will–and your will alone–which determines the results of the dice, and thereby, your fate.” He handed me the dice. “Go on. Throw the dice and make the call before they hit the board.”
I reached out and took the dice with great trepidation.
“Blow,” he suggested, holding out his empty palm and mimicking the gesture.
I glanced at him, then at the dice in my hand.
Then I blew on them.
Then I woke up.