Incredible Dream Story Editor Cathy Bock writes a sweet and heartwarming story about Guildmaster Leera, and the reminder for all of us to take some time off.
One cold evening, Leera, the Seekers’ Guildmaster, sat busy in her office. Carolers could be heard through the window along with the ringing of bells.
A knock sounded at the door and Feyn burst in with a tray of cookies. “What are you doing in here! There’s a party downstairs. Tomorrow is Kinfire Day!” Feyn tried to hum a holiday song and do a little jig, but the guildmaster didn’t seem to notice.
“Humbug,” she muttered.
Feyn’s dance slowed to a stop. He placed a cookie on the guildmaster's desk and then left her to her work.
The night grew late and Leera's eyelids grew heavy. She let her head fall to her desk, but as she did, a shadow appeared, materializing into the figure of a revenant.
"Not now, Khor. I have paperwork."
"I am not Khor," said a gentle voice. "I am a spirit, here to remind you of what once was, what is, and what might be."
"Whoever you are, I don't have time for this."
The revenant reached out to her. "Time is all we do have."
As soon as the revenant's hand touched her own, the room around her transformed into a wintery snowscape. A group of elven children were playing before them, building snowmen, running, and laughing. Among them, a human girl was off to the side, sullen and alone. She had drawn a rune in the snow and was practicing a spell.
"You look lonely there by yourself," the spirit said to Leera.
"I was dedicated. I didn't have time to play."
But as the other children ran off without her, the young Leera looked up from her spell with deep sadness in her eyes.
Moments later, Leera and the spirit were back in the present day, standing in the dining hall of the guildhouse. Feyn was singing a song and Khor was in the corner, dressed as a tree with Flickers perched atop their head.
"Poor Flickers," Valora said nearby. "He's so worn out. He needs rest, but he won't let Khor leave the city without him."
Flickers gave a little cough from atop Khor's head.
Roland nodded. "The guildmaster has been working us to the bone. Tomorrow's Kinfire Day, but we'll be leaving at first light to escort some travelers."
Asha collapsed into a chair. "We just got back from saving a town from an infestation of giant fire ants, and now we're headed out again tomorrow? Does the guildmaster ever stop working?"
Leera tried to speak out to them, to apologize, but her voice fell on deaf ears.
A moment later, she and the spirit found themselves standing on the crest of a sand dune. Below them, Leera spotted the Seekers, slowly trudging through the sand with their heads down. Khor lagged behind.
"It's my fault," Khor said.
Naz turned to them and threw down her sword. "No, it's not, Khor. This is supposed to be Kinfire Day. If we didn't have to come out on a mission…Flickers would still be with us."
Asha gritted their teeth. "It's the guildmaster. All she cares about is the guild and its reputation. And now Flickers has paid the price."
Roland wiped away a tear.
Atop the sand dune, Leera whispered, "No. Is Flickers really gone, spirit?"
The spirit put a hand on her shoulder. "This is the future that will come to pass if things carry on as they have."
Leera nodded and then found herself sitting in her office alone once more.
She grabbed her cloak from its hook and ran down the stairs to the dining hall, where the music and singing suddenly stopped.
"What are you all doing?" she said sternly.
The Seekers looked around at one another. "Sorry, guildmaster. We'll wrap things up and get ready for tomorrow's mission."
"Tomorrow?!" she cried. "Tomorrow is Kinfire Day! I want us all to take the day off!"
Everyone in the room froze in shock before bursting into cheers. Leera pulled Flickers from atop Khor's head and cuddled him in her arms. "Let's all go have some hot hornfruit cider! Let's sing songs! Let's go sledding!"
The Seekers and the guildmaster bundled up with their hot cider and headed out into the snow to sing, sled, and celebrate the night away. From that day forward, the guildmaster made sure to spend less time alone in her office and more time together with her Seekers. And every Kinfire Day was declared a Seekers' day of fun and celebration.