Disclaimer: Based on the very fine work of Tamora Pierce


Word count – 403

Response to Tammy Drabbles Prompt #43

Images emerged from shadows, light flickering to illuminate the scenery as if forming something from nothing. He stepped from a room in his home to the atrium of the magic university in Corus, though it did not give him pause. There he was suddenly part of a troupe of players, participant now to a play his wife had begged to see several months before.

Perfectly delivered lines that had no form brought a rousing round of applause from the watchers, who appeared and disappeared as his eyes traveled over their faces. But she was there -- the Lady Knight – whistling and clapping in admiration. They clasped hands and she walked with him behind the tapestry and through a door that somehow led back in time, to the room outside Sir Raoul of Goldenlake's quarters, but neither noticed.

Soon enough his senses were completely immersed in her – a vision far more real than any thing that came before. He could feel her scarred and sinewy arms; smell her very individual scent of soap, weapons polish, and a light Yamani perfume – her one admission of womanhood. He could taste her mouth, and hear the sounds of ardor they chorused. It was so real that it translated to the waking world – the one he did not want to return to. He made that admission that he'd never been able to before. "I love you."

The voice that answered back was groggy and higher than Kel's. "I love you too, Cleon." Sleep slipped away without a sound, and he blinked, confused for a few seconds only, and desperately sad. There was no reason for it. Ermelian was a lovely woman: petite, elegant, and feminine in every respect. She was lying next to him in the bed they had shared since their marriage. He had her love, but she did not have his, not really. She should have. Wouldn't any other man love her? Any man who had not been forced to turn his back on his own dreams for the sake of duty would.

If he closed his eyes, he might dream again of charming the crowds and holding Kel – of a place where each man chooses his own life, love is never one-sided, and every one gets that happy ending. There was a reason why desires of the heart were called "dreams", for they only worked out in sleep – at least, that's how Cleon saw it.