The woman’s cool sweat rolled down her bare back as she tossed and turned in the small home in Mondrago. Her dreams were getting worse. She knew that it wasn’t Helio’s doing… Perhaps it was just her worry bleeding over into her dreams. Beryl was fine, but she wasn’t Arnold. Helio was still with their child in angels knew where, and there was no set time frame for their return. The more she worked with the patients in the asylum, the more she wished she had never accepted the job. Not for her sake, or theirs, but for Canergak’s. The old man was still bothering her. All of these things were converging as she had fallen to sleep that night, but her dreams kept waking her up again. Things had been running this way for weeks now.
There were bright points in her days. Talking to Beryl, feeling her out and learning her ways. Feeding Loren, her paint pony. Taking late night walks in the sands of the Souk when her soul felt the lonliest. Dancing with her sister in the Dj’inn. Dancing, in general. The moon gleaming in the sky when the midnight hour was upon her… She had things to be happy about. Perhaps she’d take Loren riding soon. The pony was big enough to ride now and perhaps she would give her a work out. She did need a few things, and Loren was a well behaved girl. But, as she tossed and turned for the who knew what numbered time tonight, her dream was waning.
She dreamed of her husband and baby wandering into the asylum, looking for her. She dreamed of her ’employer’ speaking to him. She saw things that she wasn’t even sure existed in reality. Shadows that walked upright, and figured like men. Dogs with the heads of plants. Cats with three different sets of arms, throwing things at her. Asylum patients dancing and singing silly nursery rhymes to her invisble child as she watched from a straight jacket…
All of these things were not the worst thing she dreamed of. The things that woke her at the dead of night were the most normal things in Babbage. Blood. Fire. Steam. Dirt. Soot. Explosions. Rich men with ungodly power. These were the things that made her need to bathe in the middle of the night and wash her bed linens the next day…
It was now that Maddox shot up in bed, her hair a tangled red and black mess. She looked around, listening for any sign that her dreams were real. She only relaxed when she found no trace of the fear that had been there when her eyes were shut. All she heard was Loren’s whickering and hoofbeats outside of the house. Her body was sweat slick and thankfully, her sheets were not soaked through. One wash would suffice this time. Perhaps if she let them breathe, she would not have to worry about them until the morning.
She slid out of bed, quickly rinsed herself from the water basin on her table and dressed. Plaiting her hair, she quickly stole outside into the cool night air. Giving the horse a quick sugar cube and a pat, she started to walk. Past the little house, past Elephant Square, past the pistes… She needed to find something that would tame this wild feeling of unease she had acquired. She needed something to heal her heart of the heat and worry she had been dealing with. When she got out far enough, where she was sure that not even Ereh would find her, she danced. She danced and let her inner fires soar outwards in a blaze that no water would quench. A blaze of emotion made outwardly real. She blazed and bathed in the bright blue flames of her discontent and unhappiness and wondered if it was possible that she might have done too much at once. If that was the case, someone would find her in the morning and she would have explaining to do to her sister. But she wasn’t to worry on that at the moment. For now, she was fire incarnate and it felt heavenly.
((Felt like writing, and wanted to let you all know I wasn’t dead!))