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The moonlight filtered through the open window, as if carried in on the breeze with the rich scents of summer. The light danced across the room, played in his silver hair and highlighted the tools of the trade he had laid out on the bed spread.

A dreamcatcher, ebony beads caught in an intricate loom of spider’s thread taut between spun wood. A quill, made from the feather of an Icoran gullsnap, resting beside a curved horn with liquid imagination glistening gold within. Leather pads for his shoulders, knees and elbows, carved with ancient runes, worn and comfortable like old slippers. And a breast plate of silver, worth the price of a nice retirement if he had ever been willing to sell it.

My old friends, he thought, and sighed. What a time we’ve had of it.

The thought acted as a catalyst, spurring him into motion. He did not move quickly, but with the steady motions of a professional at the end of a long career.

First, he pulled on the black shirt and trousers he had pressed that afternoon. After shrugging into a dark jumper, he lifted the pads, slipping them over his arms and legs and tying them in place. His fingers shook slightly as he wove the intricate loops, but he ignored them. They would do what was needed when the time came. Just as he would.

Once the pads were in place, he lifted the silver plate. He held it in his hand for a moment, studying it. He traced the Tower and the Flame with a single finger, and was surprised when a single tear struck the surface. The silver sang like a bell fresh from the metal works, a clear tone that filled the room and swam out into the august air.

Reaching up, the dreamreaver brushed another tear from his eye. Then he set to his task once again.

With an effort, he lifted the plate up and over his head, allowing it to sink back down over his shoulder gratefully. Squirming it into place, he tied the sides together. The plate weighed him down, a physical reminder of his responsibilities. A good reminder.

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