As Joseph and Hanna curl together for sleep, a spark of green light twirls over our fire. The colour gets my attention first, for all green seems to have abandoned our world. What happens next holds my attention.
The spark bobs as if dancing above the purple flames.
I sneak a glance at Horin, but the boy is already asleep. Siri lies between him and Attis, her eyes closed. Attis sits up to stare at the moving green spark.
At least now I know I am not crazy.
Attis rises carefully to sidle to my side. Sitting on the log beside me, he whispers, “I think it’s Horin’s dreaming.”
I nod and together we watch. Kay snorts in his sleep somewhere.
The spark expands into the orb we have all seen Horin hold, but this is a dream orb, not the one he is able to summon. It dips into the flames as if testing the heat and then rises again swiftly. For a moment it seems to hover as if in thought, and then the orb flattens into a disc, such as those soldiers throw at targets to strengthen hand-eye coordination. Once they master the talent, they move onto daggers.
Abruptly the disc descends to completely cover the flames. They snuff out. Attis and I both hiss in breaths of surprise. What we are seeing is more tangible than we thought. Smoking slightly, the greenness lifts once more, higher and higher. When it reaches the height of a man, it spreads.
The net Horin has employed before hoves into view over our small camp.
“He is trying something while he sleeps,” Attis whispers.
Yes, and it scares me. We have more freedom in dreams than we do in reality. Whatever Horin is doing, it may well work in the ethereal realms, but it may hurt us in reality. I debate whether to wake the boy … and realise that is more dangerous.
I am, however, able to delve his thoughts. Releasing the barriers, I concentrate. I see Siri’s mind first; her thoughts are for Kay, the westerner, in the form of garlands of roses intertwining. I glare at the man in the shadows, wondering if he has moved in on my sister. His thoughts are masked; he is in deep sleep. Ha. I will have words with the man soon.
Attis’ wonder rattles like gems in an ornate box beside me, and I smile. Tough little innocent.
I do. I focus on Horin.
His mind is open. It has to be, given the manipulation he attempts from one realm into another. The world of images I enter is more real than the reality of Arc around us. I see a path, a mountain, a field, a horse. What makes it more real is that it is there, grounded, not shifting as dreamscapes do. And it has colour and texture. The path is fawn gravel, the mountain grey and green rock and tree. The field is filled with colourful blooms, while the horse is a beautiful black, its coat glistening … in yellow sunlight. I walk with Horin along the path, watch as his hands strew seeds before him. Tiny green sparks hit the ground, bounce, and then rise to become autonomous. They dance and, as they do so, light, colour and the tangible is created.
Leave now, Damin.
I jerk from the boy’s mind to freeze upon the log. By the stars, Horin is strong.
Drawing in a decidedly shaking breath, I focus on the net over us. As Attis and I watch, it explodes in utter silence. Green sparks skitter into the surrounding, some heading up, others falling to the earth.
Darkness descends then, and I understand it is true night. Real night.
The red glows are gone.
Horin sits up then, and spears me with an intense gaze.