My dream, the one that comes to me every night and has lost me
quite a few lovers because of the rather violent reaction I have to it,
the dream that blots out all other dreams, and blots out the waking events
as well, that dream, or nightmare, whichever you prefer to call it, is
growing stronger, night by night.
"Why didn't you teach the class today, Aunt Sand?" Daegan asks.
How could I answer? How could I answer a boy whose throat will be ripped
out by Shadow wolves that I am dreaming of death? And not only his death,
but the death of the Universe?
This might suffice, actually, as an explanation. "Nightmares,
Daegan. Plaguing my sleep. Sent by my subconscious, which is
dissatisfied with my understanding of infinity, and so it teaches me about
death, tells me that which wizards should not know."
Then again, Daegan is only eleven years old, and even Kaedric
could not have failed to be disturbed by that answer.
"I haven't been sleeping, Daegan." That's all I say. Leave the
wizardly lessons out of it, and by all means, keep the truth at arms'
The dream is always the same, but never the same. Every night, a
different face dies in agony on the Pattern. This time, when I was young
three thousand years ago, and it was a distant, half-remembered nightmare
when it was remembered at all, it was Delwin or me. Sometimes Brandon,
and me reaching out to him. Sometimes Fiona, and Brandon's knife in her
throat. Sometimes Papa, and that sort of happened, this time, only he let
out his own blood, and used it to make the Pattern live again. Never the
same, always the same. Always the Pattern and someone dying on it.
Always the enemies from Chaos, always Delwin or Brandon or both in the
thick of it, and their children almost always unsaveable. And then the
thing comes to pass, and the element of the dream fades away undreamed of
again, and only the remainder of the days left in the universe is dreamed
of. It is not many days now.
For the past six years, as the dream grows more intense, I have
woken up every night with tears on my face and the faint taste of blood in
my mouth. I chose Ixaxis this time because I coveted the wizardry that
makes sleep even less necessary this time. I regret that choosing because
of Abigail, but I do not because of Claudio. He is a fine man this time
around, and even the business of Abigail worked out well enough, or it
did, until Kaedric went and died on the girl, as they all have died on
her. Damn Brandon for a fool and a bad parent, and a man unable to choose
a proper mate.
My thoughts string themselves out and turn ragged, and I know the
wolves are ravening through Shadow, and the time is close upon us, and I
pray that this time, when the universe shifts on its axis, I am not the
chosen one. It has been fifteen thousand years alone, and I cannot take
even another day.
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