Februarius 24, 374: “But we are not girls any longer. And this is not Capua.”

June 21st, 2017

Februarius 24, 374

The Dream

As you slip into the hazy realm of dreams you are met with unfettered darkness. You are confused a moment and reach about you trying to grasp for something in the dark – anything by which to cling for comfort or guidance. And yet as you finally relax you realize it is the shadows themselves that begin to soothe you with whispers and you seem to be guided by inky tendrils forward.

When you grow cold a blazing fire appears and keeps you warm. When you hunger flowering plants spring at your feet to feed you a plethora of beautifully odd fruits. When the air goes still and you grow too warm a sweet breeze stirs and caresses your cheek. You grow thirsty a shining Chalice appears – beautifully polished in silver and gold. You excitedly attempt to drink from it but find it empty. When the thirst threatens to crush you in lament you finally throw the Chalice away and a bubbling brook appears in its stead and offers you cool refreshing water.

You watch time pass by as the sun and moons each rise and set in your dream land and the discarded Chalice dents and rusts and eventually is reclaimed by the Urth and fades into obscurity and nothingness. And yet you are left with the whispering shadow, the warming fire, the flowering earth, the soothing air, and the refreshing water. You wake with a start and are left to ponder with your waking mind.


It is a mere breath of sound, but it is the first word past my lips as I come awake, meeting darkness. The curtains are still drawn and the embers have long since died in the fireplace. It is still night; I simply know.

“What is it?” Letta mumbles from her place in the bed beside me before she comes awake with a sense of alarm. “Is it Gildarts?” Her voice whimpers at me from the darkness and I cannot help but feel a pang of guilt, as though my maid’s constant fear of monsters lurking in the shadows is my fault. But perhaps it is. There was no fear for us in Capua, when we would stay up late, gossiping to all hours of the night. When we were girls, happy to sit and embroider to while away the afternoons when I was not at lessons or out riding with Papa, at his side while he surveyed our many vineyards…

But we are not girls any longer. And this is not Capua. A wave of homesickness washes over me even as I settle back onto my pillows with a shake of my head. “It is nothing,” I reassure my poor Letta – my bedmate and constant companion since I was a mere girl of five. I remember my fifth birthday with fondness. It was a good year. Look, Kitty, Papa had said, leading out a fine courser for me. Not a pony, but a grown courser – powerful and sleek. Mother had said it was not proper, that I would fall and break my neck. But Papa did not care. He knew I would not fall.

And then that night, there had been Letta, the daughter of Mother’s chamber maid, waiting for me in my rooms. Wouldn’t you like a little friend to keep you company? Papa had asked me with a smile. And I had. I had wanted a friend more than anything…

“It was only a dream,” I finally manage to further reassure my companion and I hear her sigh of relief and the rustle of blankets as she settles back into bed with an ease I cannot help but envy. Staring at the dark ceiling overhead, I already know there will be no more sleep for me this night. A young lady needs her beauty rest, I hear Mother’s cool voice chastising me.

It is enough to drive me from my bed in full, bare feet striking against the silver-veined tiles of my room; I try to be quiet, for Letta’s sake, but it is not long before I hear her groan and then rise herself. A quiet jerk of the curtains later sees her announcing, “It is still dark out,” as though this might deter me.

“There is work to do,” is my only response. You work too hard, my girl, Papa would tell me if he was here. And he is probably right.

But better to work too hard than waste precious hours lying in the darkness, longing for sleep that will never come.