I sat and watched the scene of my enslavement reflected in my sister’s mirror in the bedroom of her memory. Something seemed to be happening out of view, for a sentinel rushed in and Fadreel turned. From his body language, whatever the sentinel told him did not please him. He gestured to the Dvergr priest. The Dvergr nodded and moved to adjust a lever. Fadreel left with the sentinel.
A pulse of lightning came down through the wires and into both cages. Bright light blinded me and Kala screamed. When I blinked, the room looked smaller and pieces of it had disappeared. A strange cross-hatching, like the weave of burlap, bordered the room. I couldn’t tell if it was actually there or if it was a product of being blinded so many times.
“Make him stop,” Kala said, crying again.
I went to her side and tried to comfort her. A flash of her true visage – emaciated and colorless – covered her face.
Another flash of lightning and the world of the room grew smaller. The stuffed horse and the canopy curtains were gone, leaving more burlap weave in their place.
Think, I told myself. I had to save my sister and get out of this situation. How could I effect the outside world from inside of the machine?
I went back to the mirror. Maybe if I saw myself, I could make myself move and remove the gag from my mouth? My hands did not appear to be tied any more. I just stood there, in the cage, connected. I noticed then that I had connections on each finger and toe.
“How have you survived, Kala?”
When she didn’t answer, I rushed back to the bed. Her body flickered between her healthy self – a memory I guessed – and her true form. I looked down at myself and noted that I wore my favorite tunic that had the rip on the sleeve where I’d caught it on the edge of the bar. My hair was long and pulled back in my customary queue – not short and bluish as I knew it to be.
The room grew smaller.
Would I cease to exist if the room disappeared? How had I been in the room anyway? She didn’t know me from a stone in the creek. How could I be in her memory?
I watched helplessly as she started to fade.
Maybe it wasn’t a memory. Maybe it was dream? Elder Ponmay said this was the Dreaming. Maybe I could dream us to freedom?
I experimented by envisioning the room as my own suite of rooms in the castle. I felt a certain resistance, like thinking through a slight hangover, but my rooms appeared. Kala did not.
Cursing, I changed the room back to the way it was. Kala remained on the bed. She seemed unconscious. I feared that she’d gone on to the elements and had a moment of selfish panic about being left alone in this dream/memory world until I too lost all energy and died. I grasped her thin hands and concentrated again, drawing out the image of my bedroom as carefully as I could.
The room appeared again and this time, Kala lay on the bed.
“Stay and heal,” I told her. My voice echoed as if I’d used the power voice instead of my normal voice. Well, why not? It was my dream after all.
“Heal,” I said, throwing my power behind it.
She woke up, blinked, and then got up, looking refreshed and happy.
Did I trust that her physical body was healed? Could I tell her “Disconnect yourself,” and she would?
“Thanks,” she said. She looked around. “Where are we?”
“My rooms at the palace. How did you make the mirror show you your body?”
She shrugged. “I just looked.”
I went into the bathing chamber and looked into the mirror. It reflected me as I was before having my clothing cut off.
“Show me…” I stopped and reached into my belt pouch. My fingers found shards and the shards responded to my touch by warming. Maybe I could effect the physical. I smiled at my reflection.
“Show me my physical body.”
The mirror shimmered and showed us the lake and our cages. The Dvergr priest had set up some sort of alter on the floor in front of the cages and was on his knees next to a bloody body. He appeared to be chanting, but I couldn’t hear him.
“I want to hear it. Give me sound,” I commanded.
“You really don’t want to hear,” Kala said, shaking her head. “Too many screams.”
“Show me the battle.”
The battle did not appear to be going well. The loyalists had lost several people and the sentinels and guards had them cornered against the purple/pink dome. The Adnorians of the loyalist group looked grim, but the Nord of the group looked sick and weak. I did not see Vytar, the twins, or The Owl. I did, however, spot Uri.
For all that he was no older than my sister, he seemed very proficient at killing. My sister hissed and grabbed my shoulder just as he dodged a blow to the head and dispatched his opponent with a spinning cut that took off half of the man’s leg.
My sister gagged and said, “Can we look at something else?”
I asked the mirror to show me Vytar.
The mirror became unfocused for a moment and then cleared, showing me the Captain and The Owl – whom I knew he hated – fighting side by side, protecting someone on the ground. It may have been either of the twins.
“Who’s on the ground?”
The mirror clouded. My room brightened and a small hint of burlap cross hatching appeared on the edge of the mirror.
Kala let out a small eek of surprise and I had a momentary flash of dizziness.
The mirror cleared, showing a familiar and beloved face.
“Gestin, my lord. I found you. I don’t have much time. The dome must come down in order for our forces to enter.”
I was about to ask how when Kala stepped in front of me.
“No, you mustn’t. We’re tied to the dome. If you break it, we’ll die.” She turned to me, her eyes tearing up.
“I don’t want to die.”
“Neither do I.” I looked back at Rhaenan, who shook her head.
“Lots of people – people who believe in you – are dying out here. More importantly, the land is dying due to the Dvergr’s thirst for power. My lord, the dome must –”
The conversation was cut short by a blast of white light. When I got my sight back, the mirror showed a normal reflection. Kala, however, had disappeared.