When my eyesight returned I found myself in a field of long grass, moving to a breeze that I didn’t feel on my skin. There were oak trees in the distance and above me clouds gathered and became dark. I could smell that peculiar scent that hints at a storm coming.
A figured flowed toward me, like a wisp. It turned into my mother.
“I’m glad to see you,” I said.
She smiled and nodded. I could see the trees through her torso.
“I’m sorry. I fear I treated you…”
She held up a finger to my mouth and shook her head. A flash of lightning and the almost immediate crack of thunder made my eyesight go again. In the blind after glow, I heard, “He’s not integrating. Try adjusting the voltage.”
When my eyesight returned, I stood in a strange room that had windows on all of the walls and some of the floor. An orange piece of furniture, stuffed and bench-like with arms, faced the windows. A woman sat on the couch, her back to me. She had long flowing white hair. The room appeared to be high in the sky, and through the windows I could see other tall buildings, lit up with many colors. The occasional odd vehicle passed, flying in the air.
She stood and turned to me. She wore tight fitting trousers of a blue-gray color and a tight dark tunic that had words on it; “Up the Irons,” whatever that meant.
“Free them,” she said, and gestured toward the window.
“Free who?”
She shook her head and a flash of lightning blinded me once more.
“Ah, he’s connecting now. Good.”
Once again my eyesight returned. This time I could see the greasy lake, the gibbet cages, Fadreel and the Dvergr priest adjusting levers. I seemed to be looking down at them from a height. I could see their mouths moving, but couldn’t hear what they said.
“Gestin, is that you?” A familiar voice said.
The scene changed. I sat in a city garden with a flowing fountain. The sound of the water hitting the pool relaxed me. Elder Ponmay sat next to me and patted my hand.
“Oh, it is good to see you.”
“Where are we?”
“The Dreaming.”
“What’s…?” I started to ask, but she interrupted me.
“Look in the pool. The elements want to talk to you.”
I stood and went to the edge of the fountain. I could see the bottom. It wasn’t very deep.
“Look more closely, Gestin.”
I looked and could make out movement, like the swirl of fish. It resolved itself to be the scene of battle, as seen from above, at what looked like a toy city wall and a pile of sand. I leaned in, almost touching the water. I could see sentinels and castle guards fighting with charcoal gray clad loyalists and others dressed in the bright colors of Crown City. I spotted Captain Vytar blocking a blow to his head and Rhaenan – no it was Draenan – stepping in under his arm and slicing his opponent’s stomach open. Draenan looked up, her eyes meeting mine, and she pointed to the left. I looked left and up, and spotted Rhaenan sitting on the bird horse, who flapped out of reach of a volley of arrows.
“We can’t get through the dome.”
I noticed the pink-purple dome and was sucked into it.
Pain shot across my body and although I screamed, I could not hear it.
Blind, deaf, and shackled to a machine. I had no idea that actual dying – compared to the other times I’d gone to the elements – took so long.
After a moment, I did hear crying.
The blindness receded and I found myself in a child’s bedroom. A ragged stuffed horse sat on a small table next to a canopied bed that had the curtains drawn. The sound of crying came from within the curtains.
“Hello?” I opened the curtains and was surprised find a girl about 12, sniffling and hiding behind her long blond-white hair. I had expected to see Rand, seeing as I was dying and visiting people I knew.
The girl wiped her nose and peeked at me through a strand in a movement that reminded me of Jeslynn.
“I’m Gestin. Who are you?”
“‘Kala. What are you doing here?”
I’m attached to a machine sucking my soul out and dreaming, I thought.
“Oh, me too. Uncle Fadreel must not like you much either.”
“You’re the body in the cage next to mine?”
She sniffed again and got up, walking to a dressing table. She pointed in the mirror. I could see our cages and the lake. Fadreel stood observing us.
She stuck her tongue out at him.
“How is he your uncle?”
“He’s not. That’s just what he called himself when he came to take me away. At first I thought I was apart of the missing royal family because my mother had been queen, but now I think he was just lying to me. He’s a liar.” She made a rude gesture at the mirror and went back to the bed.
“He’s not really my uncle either. Wait, your mother was queen?”
She nodded.
“So I’ve been told. That might have been a lie too.”
“Who was your father?”
“I don’t know. Aunt Byvora wouldn’t tell me.”
Byvora, Byvora. Where…The letter.
“I think,” I said, sitting on the edge of the bed, “that you’re my half-sister.”
She shrugged.
“How long have you been here? Where is here, by the way?”
“This is a memory, I think, of my room at Aunt Byvora’s house. See, you can make it anything you want.”
The room changed to a stable with stalls filled with horses, who put their long, graceful necks over the stall doors and whickered at us. She produced an apple out of the air and fed it to the closest one. After a moment she sighed and the scene changed back to her bedroom.
“He took away my horse.”
Anger, the first concrete emotion I felt in this dream world, shook me. “He took mine too. But I’m going to get it back.”
Good question. I sat at the mirror and watched the cages that held my sister and I.