Wrapped tightly in her blankets, Brysia was lost in contemplation of the
dream she’d had during the night when she heard Jase’s loud gasp. She raised
up on an elbow and listened anxiously for a moment, but when she heard
nothing more than a whispering of blankets, she lay back down. He’d had
another nightmare, she realized. One which had jolted him awake in horror. It
was the second time in as many nights.
So, he was stressing over his newfound abilities was he? Poor child. She
knew firsthand what he was going through. When she had first learned she was
Dalae, she hadn’t slept well for a month, every night wielding her new Gift in
ways that made her jolt awake with her heart pounding and her breath ragged
in her throat. It was only natural, she supposed, for one to live out one’s fears
through dreams. Or, as was her case recently, to live out one’s sadness.
Last night she had dreamed of Benak again; and a powerful dream it had
been, too. She had been working in the flowerbeds in front of the house when
he was suddenly beside her, trying desperately to tell her something. He’d
looked exactly as she remembered him, tall and ruggedly handsome, with eyes
like blue agate marbles. His dark hair and beard had been flecked with grey,
and the lines of his face had been deeper. It was how he would have looked had
She had risen to her feet to embrace him, but her surroundings had shifted,
and she’d found herself staring at him from across a wide, deep chasm. He had
continued trying to tell her something, his face contorted with the effort, his
eyes glittering with intensity as he spoke. But no sound had come. His eyes, she
remembered, had taken on a haunted look near the end, a look of unspeakable
terror as a dark shadow washed over him, hiding him from view. She had jolted
awake then, startled by the realization that his fear hadn’t been for himself, but
The sound of Jase shuffling around in his room pulled her from her
thoughts. He had decided not to go back to sleep. He usually didn’t, preferring
to do his chores early so he would have free time later. He passed her door
without looking in, and she heard his booted feet going down the steps. She
returned to her contemplation of the dream.
What did it mean? Why the chasm and the shadow? Did it mean, as most
people believed, that Benak and the others had not simply died doing their duty,
but had somehow been overpowered by Maeon? She crushed the thought as
soon as it came. It couldn’t be that. Their trip to the Soul Chamber had been
successful as evidenced by Shadan’s destruction. His armies had been scattered,
and most, if not all, of the Agla’Con and their Darklings had been killed.
Perhaps it was her mind’s way of telling her it was time to accept the idea
that Benak was dead and that he and the others were not coming back. She
shook her head emphatically at the thought, grimacing at having thought it.
Never! She would never give up hope! She loved him too deeply to ever stop
believing he would come back. Besides, if the prophecies concerning Death’s
Third March were true, Con’Jithar itself was about to be unleashed on the Nine
Lands. An apocalyptic day, to be sure, but a day of hope as well. Because if the
prophecies were true, Gideon Dymas would return, and Benak would come with
him. She believed it would happen. Deep down inside, she knew it would.
What, then, should she make of the fear in Benak’s eyes and the frantic
nature of his attempted speech? The dream had been very vivid in both respects
—Benak had been trying to tell her something and had been terrified that he
couldn’t. What did it mean? Nothing? Something? She simply couldn’t say. One
thing was certain, though: She needed a holiday. A holiday from everything that
made her think of Benak. She needed some time to sit and sip tea and chitchat
with a friend she trusted even more than her warders when it came to some
things. She needed to visit Maira.