Blades of Treachery - Excerpt 4
Wynne Has a Vision
Wynne has several prophetic dreams throughout the course of the story. This is the second that the reader actually gets to see. I chose an bit of this one because the first is rather ambiguous. Of course, so is the second, but the first is far worse.
Wynne closed her eyes and concentrated on the past. A mid-spring morning following a prophetic dream, the gates of Midway, Rhys, a meeting with the Guard, two bodies, burning amber hatred, Rhys, another dream, Rhys, an attack by an unnatural beast, Rhys, a journey into the Stalwarts, a campsite... nothing. She had no memory beyond falling asleep at Rhys' side. All things considered, there were two possibilities.
She could have been abducted while she slept, through some means either magical or physical, though the latter was unlikely. Her distance from Willa could explain the duck's pain and illness, since Apertures needed to remain close to their Masters. Willa could be flying desperately to her even now.
More likely, this could be a dream. She had had such dreams before, terribly real and doom telling. It was such a dream that had led her to try to seek out Lord Merrick in Midway; he specialized in interpretation of prophetic visions. And if it was a dream, she was wasting an inordinate amount of time sitting about fretting over it. The fastest way to escape a dreamscape was to complete its path.
And the fastest way to escape this prison seemed to be the large hole above her bed.
She moved through the hole and into the dark passageway beyond. Despite the complete lack of light deeper into the tunnel, she could see clearly, which led her to believe she was probably correct in believing this was not real... at least not yet.
The tunnel twisted a bit before opening into another room. Wynne stepped out into the dim light and looked around, trying to find some sense of what she needed to see. There was a table in the middle of the room with a wooden stool pushed beneath it. The air smelled of dust and rotting flesh, but there were no bodies to be seen. A stone staircase with a metal-worked railing led up and out of the room.
On the side of the room opposite the stairs, a wooden door sat in the wall with a series of protective runes inscribed into its grain and encrusted with a substance Wynne immediately recognized. Lead blocked divining in its natural form, but was too soft and heavy to use in building, so it was often powdered and used in warding magic to prevent scrying. In a dream state, she could not pass through such a door.
The door could, however, be opened by someone who belonged in this future world, and so it was. A figure strode into the room, a man shrouded entirely in dark cloth, trimmed with bit of bone sewn into the hem and seams. A gray haze followed him, enshrouding the right half of his body even more than the robes. Wynne knew him all too well; he was the Man Half in Shadow, and she was in his citadel.
He began to speak, giving orders to someone that Wynne couldn't see. A woman's voice, hard and cold, answered back seemingly from nowhere, affirming that his will would be done. She would bring the First Son to him, in body or corpse, and the will of the god would be undone. The Man dismissed his invisible servant and went back into the forbidden room.
Wynne hoped to be free of the vision, having seen this moment in time, but to no avail. She waited for several moments, then impatiently headed toward the stairs to follow the invisible woman's only possible exit route. Half way up the stairs, she heard the door behind her open once more.
She turned, leaned on the rail, and looked over the room. The Man returned, this time holding something before him, shaped like a brick wrapped in tomb cloth. He sat at his table, and began to unwrap his prize. Wynne shuddered as she watched him work, noticing the hand in shadow, muscle rotting from the bone even as tatters of dry flesh tried to hold it in place. After a few seconds, the package was revealed, and Wynne felt both awe and fear grow within her.
All characters and events depicted herein are © 2000 by Edward Robinson. Any resemblence to people living, dead, or living dead are purely coincidental. No part of these pages may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of the author, except in the case of review or short quotations for report purposes. All rights reserved.