Aldara the Dream-Eater

You can't say 'nobody knows what's there', and not expect me to go look.  
— Aldara the Kaia
Once a local Kaia of little renown or importance, Aldara has emerged through terrible trials as one of the heroes Patala and first Dream-Eater. A cheerful, energetic soul who came to Patala in search for adventure and glory, Aldara found it, and the cost has been heavy. During the Plague of Dreams, she organized an end to the civil war that threatened to raze the city, then plunged into the collective nightmares to battle the Shrikes who haunted the city. These deeds earned her great renown, something she still isn't entirely sure how to handle, with a swelling pride kept in check by the great cost in lives.  
Aldara is a Kaia-Tani; a scout, tracker, and survivor. Though she had yet to find a team to lend her skill to, they were more than adequate to provide a living wage.
 
by Midjourney
Originally from Mharaji, Aldara is a short, dark-skinned woman with a powerful, athletic build and golden eyes. Like most Kaia, she keeps her hair short and out of the way, usually kept underneath a chitin helmet.   Since her battles in the dreams, Aldara has long scars on her shoulders, face, and leg with a dense, stubby crystalline growth replacing scar tissue. The scars glitter with a dazzling, prismatic sheen in light, and regrows no matter how many times she tears bloody chunks of it from her flesh. When gouged like that, the crystals seem to grow from within her wound, consuming her blood to grow.
  Quick to smile and chat with just about anyone, Aldara has an air of charming naiveity that disarms even the cynic. It has gotten her in trouble a fair share of times, but her wit and quick-thinking has always gotten her out of it. After the plague, her mood has darkened and she has become withdrawn. She has spoken to no one of what she saw in that nightmare in which she fought the Shrikes, or what wounds they inflicted on her mind and soul, but they burden her. With the Plague's end still only weeks old, her friends and allies can only hope that she will heal.   Now residing in Nindra, the Dreaming Cage, Aldara is nursing her wounds and finding her light again, all while preparing for the end of the fragile peace. The nightmares are still out there in the dark, and they are hungry.    

The Dream-Eater

My mind is a blade. I can cut any foe.  
— Aldara the Dream-Eater
Aldara is the first Dream-Eater; someone who had engaged the Shrikes in battle within their own dreams and emerged victorious. Few can claim the honor, as the unreal-dwelling Shrikes are at the apex of their power within the dreamscape, able to conjure terrors the real world could never allow. Even so, the Shrike are at their most vulnerable there, unable to escape into stray thoughts or hide in day-dreams. Once the gates of dreams are locked, only death can open them.
In other words, I'm not trapped in here with them...   They're trapped in here with me.  
— Aldara the Dream-Eater
To be a dream-eater demands a mix of courage, imagination, and will power. In Nindra, Aldara helps train those who try to replicate her feat, preparing them for the next plague. In moments of weakness, Aldara admits to a tinge of petty jealousy to hear others called by the title she suffered so much to earn - a flaw she fears the Shrikes will come to exploit. Though they are few, Aldara is still the first among them, wielding her will like a blade and her hopes like armor.   Despite her hesitation and fear, she continues to lead and fight, and on good days, her friends say they see that familiar, playful light returning to her eyes.
Patala, the Descent   A recently discovered region of the Inner Shell, Patala is a cavernous realm of great, canyon-like tunnels and abyssal descents into further darkness. Like countless others, Aldara sought to find a future here, with dreams of great discoveries and thrilling adventures.   While she has found both, neither has lived up to her more cheerful dreams.   Read More About Patala
by Midjourney

Nindra

Once a minor outpost where explorers and settlers could stop to resupply before heading further into Patala, Nindra has now become home to the Dream-Eater and her allies. Here, they plan and practice, waiting for the plague's return.   With no more than a hundred inhabitants, it is a small settlement, standing defiant against the gloom that surrounds them.  
Nindra, the Dreaming Cage
Settlement | Jul 27, 2022

Half-way between real and dreaming, Nindra is a light in the darkest part of Patala, searching for the truth to its ancient past and the well-worn charnel pits it left behind.

Children
Known only to the Fearless Five, Aldara may have little time to heal. Nightmares are gathering in the dark and all they do might still prove inadequate to stop them. Together with the Five, Aldara has begun to trace to a place deep within Patala where they hope to find the key to salvation - the greatest and last work of the doomed folk who once called Patala home.
 
The Skein-Spiral Gates
Building / Landmark | Jul 30, 2022

At the heart of the labyrinthine spiral, with tunnels as long as human memory and as winding as a dream, something great and terrible stirs.

 
by Hanhula / Midjourney



Cover image: by Darkest Dungeon

Comments

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23 Jul, 2022 16:51

Aldara is so brave. I fear for her future. The crystalline growth in her wounds is related to the though-metal? Is she going to lose her mind and body to that? :(

15 Aug, 2022 11:41

Dun dun dunnnn!


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
Eternal Sage Wordigirl
LexiCon (WordiGirl)
15 Aug, 2022 05:30

Hi there! You may not know me, but I am the sponsor of the Great Leader of Their People Summer Camp Prompt this year! Since you wrote this article, I would like to know, would you mind me reading it aloud on my Twitch channel this week? I have a lot to get through so it helps to do it live while people watch. I've scheduled to go live at 8am and 8pm Eastern Time every weekday. If you join and comment, I can go over your article right then and there! If you'd like to coordinate a specific date, let me know. If you aren't able to make it (or don't want to be present live), you can also always watch streams after the fact on my YouTube channel   BUT, if the answer is NO because you'd rather I not, it's okay! Not agreeing to be streamed definitely does not put you at any disadvantage for winning in my eyes. Please respond swiftly by replying here (make sure to click REPLY under my comment or I won't be notified), message me on my World Anvil profile page, Discord, or anywhere else you find me online.   Thanks again! Whatever you choose, God bless and much success! <3

Have an exuberantly blessed day!!!
15 Aug, 2022 13:47

Hi Wordi,   Sure! Go ahead and read it online. I don't know if I'll be able to be there for a while due to RL stuff though.


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
Eternal Sage Wordigirl
LexiCon (WordiGirl)
15 Aug, 2022 21:37

Sorry you won't be able to make it live but I appreciate the response and the permission! If you ever do pop up in stream, please shout yourself out and I'll try to get to your article right then and there. If not, no worries. I can try to let you know when the replay is available. <3 Have a blessed one!

Have an exuberantly blessed day!!!
Eternal Sage Wordigirl
LexiCon (WordiGirl)
23 Aug, 2022 18:38

Hi there. I pray all is well. I went over your article today. Here's the link for the replay if you'd like to take a look. If not, no worries at all. Thanks again for allowing me the honor! Have a blessed one. <3

Have an exuberantly blessed day!!!