Disclaimer:  All concepts relating to the world of Velgarth, and kingdom of Valdemar, are the sole property of the author Mecedes Lackey.    

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Shadow Dreams.

Hold this moment; hold it here, deep inside your mind and soul.
 

Hold this moment; keep it close.
 

Hold this moment, use it to shield yourself from the bad things— the dark things— the wrong things.
 

Hold this moment and, whatever you do—
 

—don’t let it go.
 

Picture it, feel it, hold it.
 

It’s dark:  The darkness that only comes in the deepest hours of the night when even the latest of riser has long given up and gone to bed.  There is no moon tonight, but if there were you wouldn’t be able to see it for the thick storm clouds that are emptying themselves over Haven.  As it is, the clouds obscure the bright scattering of the stars and the gentle whisper of the rain as it caresses the city is just enough of a noise to obscure anything else trying to sneak into this room.
 

Sounds in this room are quiet, muted.  The soft, barely audible regularity of breathing; your own, which is loud in your own ears, and his:  Slow, slower than yours and laced with the regularity that only sleep brings.
 

You could listen to him breathe for eternity.
 

Hold this moment:  Hold it, hold it, hold it—
 

It’s warm; you’re warm and comfortable and you feel as if you never want to move again.  The darkness and the warmth and he— him being here, with you— more than compensate for the emotional turmoil that far preceded this moment, this perfect moment.
 

A sound; your own heartbeat, in a dull rhythm that counterpoints the joint susurration of both of you breathing.
 

You shift slightly, carefully moving your body to avoid waking him, and slide yourself closer to the middle of the bed; closer to him, to the warmth—
 

A slight murmur of sound and you freeze.  The form next to you shifts, lips half forming words from a mind still asleep, and you suddenly find yourself with an arm— a warm, soft arm— draped across your chest, pulling you in even closer.  A slight jump as your heartbeat and breathing hitch together in your chest.
 

A contented sound as he settles himself against your side and falls back asleep and you catch your breath slightly, before relaxing into that unconscious embrace; turning slightly so that you can slide your own arm across his hips and up his back, holding the two of you together.
 

—hold this moment; if you don’t, bad things will come—
 

Your eyes are open wide as you stare into the darkness.  You’re not sure if it’s purely your imagination, or if the very faint traceries of light invading the room around the window shutters and under the door are enough for you to see the slumbering face so close to yours.
 

You can feel his warm breath on your cheek.
 

Imagination or mere light, it doesn’t matter.  Because you’re both here and nothing can change that fact.  Nothing can take this away from you, not ever.
 

This is your best memory ever, isn’t it?
 

Nothing compares to this… nothing could ever compare to this… could it?
 

Nothing… but isn’t there something, another memory, one that’s more a part of you than this perfect moment is?  Another perfect moment— one that saved you?
 

—dark things—
 

Hold this moment, this perfect memory to you and try to push away the shadow dreams, the doubting voices because this is it, this is your perfect moment and if you stay here nothing can hurt you.  Nothing can ever hurt you.
 

Something is missing and you don’t know what.  Something is missing and it’s taken with it a memory; a day when everything that was wrong went right and you knew that you weren’t going to be alone anymore.  You weren’t going to be alone ever again.
 

Search for it.
 

—bad things—
 

Her— the one who saved you, she’s the perfect moment, in a way that this one, and him can’t ever compare to.  She came and she found you and she saved you.  She told you that you weren’t mad, that you weren’t possessed and she carried you away from the tattered ruins of your old life and brought you to Haven and you’d never been so happy
 

—until this dark and warm memory.
 

But… it’s hard.  Something is in the way; in the way of you remembering, in the way of you feeling.  You can’t remember her name.
 

Not at all.  Can’t remember her, can you?
 

Think, it’s important!  What’s her name?  How could you forget someone so dear to your own heart, your soul?  The person to whom you owe your sanity—
 

Bells.  She reminds you of bells.  Bells and wind and speed and an electric blue shock to your deepest self and of a living white so pure and real that you can’t do anything but believe in it completely.
 

No—  Not there—  Hold this moment— this dark, warm moment—
 

You know her name, you do… you can feel the echo of it down in your soul, you just have to concentrate to hear it—
 

Gala—
 

Her name is Gala and you love her more than anything you’ve ever known and—
 

—you can’t hear her.  For the very first time since she found you, you can’t hear her.
 

Reach for her, look for her; it’s more important than you’ll ever know.  It’s something that you’ve got to do.  Find that place in your mind; that warm, safe place that is all of her and everything that she represents.  Look for the pure blue-white fire that marks you as hers.  If you find it, you’ll find her and everything will be all right.
 

—shadow things—
 

It’s not there.  Not there at all.
 

Fling yourself outwards; forget the warm dark depths of the perfect moment with him, you have to find her— have to find her— Outwards and upwards, out of the recesses of your mind, flashing past images that make no sense and power channels that burn and fizz and char their way into your soul.
 

Stop!
 

Thunder rolls above you and a brilliant flash of light sears across your eyes.  Belatedly you blink; you didn’t even realise your eyes were open.  Icy spots of rain pelt against you in a brief flurry and you blink again as you remember the soft patter of water against shuttered windows, but—
 

—wrong.  Something is wrong—
 

You still can’t feel her at all and there is a strange aching void inside you that you don’t understand and it’s wedged itself between you and him and your shared perfect moment and it’s turned itself into a chasm that’s growing wider and wider and wider and—
 

Your twin.  Your brother.  The only one who stayed with you—
 

Memory lashes out and catches you in sharp thorny tendrils and you remember:  You hear his scream, his cry for help and you feel his pain and you see the one who did this and you know who sent him.
 

—is dead.
 

Jerk forwards— flash of lightning— burst of magic and— you’re there; at the home of the ones who killed him and you’re going to make them pay for what they’ve done, but— the shreds of a tattered moment that you’ve been holding onto catch your attention and you hear a pleading voice.
 

But he’s dead.  They killed Staven and—
 

Scream.  Scream your anger and your fury and let them know what it is to feel fear and pain and—
 

Lightning flash—
 

Jumbled images and red on white and a shattering howl that starts at the deepest part of you and flares outwards as five words throw themselves repeatedly at you in a never-ending assault that destroys all of you and grinds you to pieces inside—
 

You are—
 

Crash of thunder and burst of rain and you jerk backwards as a bolt of power arcs out of nowhere and slams into your mind, scalding your already abused Mind channels and dissolving any remaining illusions that you are holding.
 

—not my Chosen—
 

Look down at you hands and see— see it… see the blood—
 

Flash of lightning—
 

Harsh white brilliance throws shadows around you and makes the thick fluid on your hands glow crimson and you see—
 

You see—
 

You see her in your mind— a broken, mangled figure, sprawled on the ground.  Pale blue eyes rolled back and staring silently and endlessly at the stars.  Spun silver and ice of her mane and tail matted in places by the same clinging redness that stains your own hands and pools around her in a wide circle.
 

Shadows things— evil things that you made dance and yip around her, their claws and teeth dripping with her blood— with her life and—
 

—and you made them and they killed her which means that—
 

—brief flash across the void:  Him and you lying safe and warm and—
 

You.  You killed her.  You murdered her and—
 

You can’t live with that; you don’t deserve to live with that.
 

Scream—
 

SCREAM—
 

Try to apologise but it’s too late and the only thing you can do now is run, but you can’t outrun something like this, you don’t deserve to outrun something like this.
 

You don’t want to outrun something like this.  At least… not for long.
 

—safe and warm—
 

Dodge them— they don’t know, those figures clad in dirty white and that other one, him… they don’t know what you’ve done, what you are—
 

Murderer—
 

Run.  Run, run, run!  Across the moss covered paving, towards the tower of white stone.  It seems fitting, somehow; it contains a bell and she always reminded you of bells—
 

—bells and wind and speed and an electric blue shock to your deepest self—
 

It’s all your fault.
 

Make it better, make amends:  There’s only one way to do it and you’re going to—
 

Stumble up the stairs, past the silent bronze and iron Bell and reach the parapet—
 

Take one last look around at a world illuminated by lightning and sounding of thunder and drenched in the tears of the sky—
 

—all your fault—
 

Let go— let go of the mess inside yourself and embrace the void that she and he have made of you— that you have made of you—
 

Let it all go and close your eyes and—
 

And—
 

Jump.

 

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