Back again with the conclusion. For this I'm going on the fact that all the servants, at least Mora, knew that Vidanric had been writing to Mel during Court Duel, so yeah. That's all to say for now. Enjoy the finale.
Meliara slowly lifted her hands out of the water and searched in the oblivion that was her vision for something to hold on to. Her fingers traced the outline of a face. She gently ran her hands along the curves that met her fingertips, feeling the shallow dip near the eyes, and the even more shallow laugh lines that graced his cheeks. The creases near his eyes and mouth told her that he was tired, and that his expression must have been void of emotion–she knew what emotions looked and felt like from her own outbursts. Finally coming to rest on his shoulders, Meliara locked her hands around his neck, thought fleeing from her mind once again.
"This is a strange dream," Meliara said lazily, a giggle escaping her.
"Is it?" she heard the man whisper. The sound startled her somewhat–she didn't know her dreams could talk too! She tried to place the voice, but her mind refused to cooperate as she felt her legs numbing in the water again.
Meliara was about to answer him when she felt a raindrop on her nose. She looked up and wondered why she bothered when she knew she couldn't see because of the handkerchief. There she was, dreaming that she was blindfolded, with a man, in a pool, her entire lower body numb, and now it was starting to rain. She smiled at the situation as she felt more raindrops on her arms and face.
"I'm going to have a nasty cold in the morning," Meliara said to no one in particular. She heard her mystery man stifle a chuckle deep in his throat. It was then that she realized how close she was to him, close enough to feel the warmth from his breath.
After a moment she felt the numbness spread throughout her body as her head dipped in exhaustion. She must have been more tired than she thought. But how could she be tired? Wasn't she already sleeping? The questions dissolved in Meliara's mind as sleep enveloped all of her senses. She vaguely felt the man's other arm moving to catch under her legs and carry her out of her water. The memory of her entire body shaking from being wet and cold was hazy to her as well.
Meliara was already deep in sleep when her dream man carried her up to her chambers, nudging the door open and resting her down on the bed, pulling the covers up to her neck to make sure she would sleep warmly. Placing her tunic down on the nightstand, he wondered for a moment if he should remove the blindfold, but thought against it.
Vidanric glanced a final time at Meliara, smiling, then left.
Meliara woke the next morning to darkness, which scared her at first but something in the back of her mind told her it wasn't real darkness. Reaching to touch her eyes Meliara's hands ran over a familiar handkerchief, and she realized with a thudding beat of her heart that her dream last night was not a dream at all. It was real. That meant that the man was real too.
Meliara's face heated with embarrassment as the events of last night came to her: going into the water, floating along the surface, being blindfolded, and her poor excuse of a conversation she'd had with a man who she had thought, up till now, was not real. She also realized, with a groan, that her head ached and she couldn't breath through her nose. Wonderful, she thought with a huff.
Sliding the handkerchief over her head she examined it carefully, hoping to find some clue of who her mystery man was. It was unmarked, and a dull grey-no clue as to who could have blindfolded her with it last night. Then Meliara looked down at her body. She was wearing her underclothes, which made the memory of the night before even more crashingly real. Glancing at her nightstand she saw her tunic, along with an unmarked envelope she recognized all too well.
She snatched up the letter from her Unknown and tore open the wax seal and read.
Sweet dreams, Meliara.
That was all that he had wrote, and Meliara met the last sentence with another groan as she lay back down on to her pillow, her head already spinning with the task. But did that mean that it was her Unknown who had been with her last night? Of course, she told herself. It had to be. That made Meliara's heart race. She'd come to know the person on the other side of their correspondence better than she had come to know Savona.
Nothing beyond a simple embrace had gone on between Meliara and her Unknown, but she secretly hoped that she would discover his identity soon. It would give her comfort to know that her dream man had gone so far as to bring her back to her chambers, tuck her into bed as Meliara had noticed the covers so snug around her neck, and bid her goodnight without asking for anything in return, could in fact be, her Unknown. A man who made her laugh and who's letters she looked forward to always seeing on her table when she returned to her rooms.
A sharp rap on the door snapped Meliara from her thoughts as she saw Mora enter the room. She was carrying a tray of food that steamed as she set in onto Meliara's nightstand.
"You've a cold this morning. I brought listerblossom," Mora offered the cup to Meliara.
Shetook it gratefully and sat up again, slowly this time, and looked out her window. She thought back to the night before, and how her dream man had been able to stand in the pool. At least, she thought that was what happened. Meliara shook her head to try and clear her mind of the enveloping fog that threatened to put her to sleep for another good day.
Turning to her maid, she asked, "Mora, how much do you know about the pools in Atharanel? The ones in the courtyards, I mean."
Mora stopped what she was doing and looked at Meliara, an odd expression forming on her face-she'd expected something like this when she had picked up the letter this morning.
"Enough," Mora answered vaguely, "Why do you ask?"
Meliara bit her lip, but finally decided against doubt. "Do you know how deep that one outside my room is?" She nodded to her window, her listerblossom tea clutched in her hands for warmth.
Mora raised an eyebrow. She hadn't expected that question. "Near six feet, maybe a little shallower. They're mainly just for show, not meant to swim in," Mora answered, glancing up at Meliara's mess of a hair that had without a doubt gotten soaked the night before and not properly combed through.
Meliara nodded distantly, her mind elsewhere. She hadn't been able to touch the bottom--she was barely five feet tall! But her dream man...he had to be taller than six feet to be able to talk to her. Meliara groaned again into her tea and lay back down on to her pillow. That narrowed it down to about half the Court-and probably anyone a foot taller than her, which was quite a large number of men.
Mora smiled at her mistress, "Rough night, my lady?"
Meliara looked up at her maid, scrutinizing her gaze trying to decipher her expression. Finally she gave up. It hadn't been a rough night. It had been a rough swim. It would be a rough day. And the cause? A dip in cold pool water some time during the night.
A dip, Meliara? She groaned to herself.
My little ficlet now complete. I hope you liked.