Dreaming of a Dream
The first thing I saw was the sun.
My mother always told me that on the day I came into this world the sun was shining, and because of that, the sun would be with me always. So it was no surprise to me to discover that I felt best on warm summer days, and less-than stellar when clouds rolled in and covered the sky. But Mother was right; to this day, on nights that are so dark that the moon hides, I can see the light of the sun.
The grass was warm and dry beneath my bare feet, and wispy clouds floated in the vast blue sky, never obstructing the light, only enhancing the beauty of it. To most people, it looked like just a field, another stretch of dry grass and sunlight, an endless ocean on the land. But to me, it smelled of familiarity and life. The feeling of being the only person alive for mile upon mile is unnerving, but comforting at the same time. I could not explain it if I tried.
The bright rays of the sun soaked into my skin, warming me to the bone. It felt refreshing compared to the harsh, cold realities of life, and I sat on the ground and leaned back, closing my eyes as I smiled and enjoyed the feel of the light summer breeze through my hair and against my skin.
It was, I thought, perfection in its highest form. The dry stalks of grass poked at my skin through my clothes and tickled the bottoms of my feet, and if I listened closely enough, I could hear the footsteps of nature all around me. I was alone, but never in the truest sense of the word; I could feel the presence of those dear to me, and I knew they were right beside me even though I could not see them.
I did not feel lonely.
And for what felt like the briefest of moments, a fleeting second, one grain of sand from the hourglass; I was content.
Suddenly, the clouds rolled in, and I sprung to my feet, already feeling the chill of the rain that I knew would start to fall. I looked around me, and in that instant, the rain spilled from the heavens as if Father Sky had tipped over a bucket full of water. Soon, the long dry grass that surrounded me in what had been a comforting manner was soaked and flattened, only to lie dead against Mother Earth, and I could see crystals of ice starting to form on the individual blades as the wind whirled around me, no longer gentle or warm.
I found myself backing away, arms crossed over my chest defiantly, though my steps were unsure. But where would I go? The wind howled in my ears and the cold bit at my skin, and I had my answer. Nowhere. All around me there was grass, now dead and frozen. The comforting presences I felt earlier were still there, but even though I whipped my head around to look for them, I could see no one.
I was truly alone.
My feet carried me backward, but the sea around me expanded infinitely, and after what seemed like a lifetime, I gave up and crouched down, hugging myself in a vain attempt to stay warm. Is this what it is like to die alone? I wondered, and immediately lost my thought as the rain came down harder, pelting me with its intensity. I noticed that I was trembling violently, but I could not begin to fathom how such a thing came about. Was it the cold? My fear? I did not know.
Thunder rolled in the distance, and with it came lightning. It lit up the dark sky for a mere second at a time, but despite that, I found it more frightening to see endless miles of black rain than the vast nothingness of before.
In silence, I waited, ignoring the goosebumps on my arms and the numbness that had spread through my limbs. Louder than any army, the thunder rumbled above me, so close and so deafening that I felt as if I was being shaken by the heavens themselves. My legs trembled beneath me as the sound and the shaking continued for a long, desperate moment.
Then I saw the light. A single flash of lightning tore across the sky; my eyes widened in shock at its close proximity. Almost in slow motion, it came closer and closer to the ground…but just before it struck, it all vanished without a sound.
When I next opened my eyes, I saw only the dark, but I could feel the chill from where the icy rain had struck my skin and soaked through my clothes. It was cold. Suddenly, my senses came flooding to me. There was shouting, the pattering of rain overhead, the occasional distant rumble of thunder, and when I looked beside my bed…I saw light.
The sun? I thought. No…
A small stub of a candle flickered faintly, and attached to the candlestick was a hand that I followed to a face. "Kent?" I asked, still confused because I could remember being so utterly alone. What is he doing here? I had immediately wondered, but refrained from asking the question directly, because wherever I went, he followed.
"M'lady," he said, and his voice was gentle, but still earnest. "Please forgive my intrusion… but we seem to be having a bit of a skirmish outside, and I thought it best to wake you."
He was looking at the ground as he kneeled beside me, and I sat up, finally understanding what had transpired. Though the tone he used was soft and gave away nothing, I was suddenly aware that I was still trembling, though nothing like before. How much did he know?
When I did not answer him, he looked up, and I locked gazes with him for several moments before he broke away, almost flinching.
"Did…I make the wrong decision?" he asked, flushing in either embarrassment or shame.
My heart constricted with guilt. "No," I managed to say, shaking the last remnants of my dream from my mind. "You did the right thing…" My voice trembled slightly at my words, and I immediately regretted speaking when the most dependable man I knew adopted a concerned expression. I pretended as if I did not see, "I… What happened, exactly? Who is attacking us?"
His eyebrows drew together worriedly. "I am sorry, but I do not know. I came immediately to get you…"
"Well," I said, grabbing one of my boots before tugging it on my foot, "let's go."
He leaned forward, still looking anxious as he held the candle closer to my face to see well. I was thankful that the trembling had almost stopped, and I tried to ignore his closeness as I pulled my other boot on.
"Forgive my impudence, Lady Lyndis," he said, "but…are you all right? If you do not feel up to fighting, you can stay in here… I would not let any harm befall you."
He sounded nervous, but I was sure that he was only worrying too much as he was prone to do quite often.
"I know you wouldn't." I smiled at him and tried to make it look real. Maybe he knew that I was only fighting because there was a need of it… Did he know that I was sick of war? That all I really wanted to do was go back to the plains to live the rest of my life peacefully? Perhaps he did know it, but did not want to offend me by saying anything. "I am fine… There really is no need to worry about me." I could tell by his eyes that he knew I was lying, that there was more to the story.
I grabbed the Mani Katti and started to stand, but he leapt to his feet and held out his hand, offering his assistance. I took it, not trusting my legs to hold me once I was on my feet. When I turned to leave my tent, he was standing in front of me, clearly not convinced that I was fine, though physically I truly was.
"Milady," he said, taking my hand in his with surprising gentleness. "I think that it would be best if—"
"Kent." I did not want to interrupt him, but more than that, I did not want to place my problems on his shoulders, though I knew he would accept them gladly. It was my burden. When the time came for me to share it with him, I would not hesitate to do so, but only when the time and place were right; not while my companions fought for their lives.
"Yes?" His voice was hesitant, his hand still held mine.
I took a step closer and laced my fingers through his, squeezing lightly, "It was… just a dream. We can talk about it later."
I know I'm not the only one who's been dreaming of warmer days…
This wasn't really anything special, but I did have fun writing it. The first half (the dream) was edited seven or eight times, total, so I hope I cut enough out and simplified it just as I meant to.
Thank you for reading! Constructive criticism is, as always, appreciated. Please review if you have the time.