Legends of Belariath


The Dream

Aphris slowly walked across her meadow. Her mind keenly aware of her surroundings. It looked the same, yes, but the smell was different. The feel was different. The wind blew all around her, yet the material of her dress barely shifted. Her hair lay flat against her back, not one strand out of place. She knew this feeling. It was a dream. A living, breathing dream. She expected to see her mother at any minute. Calling her name, her voice sweeter than any song she had ever heard. She smiled softly to herself in this peaceful place, a wave of calm rushing over her.

And then, a voice beckoned. Her smile slowly faded from her lips. She told herself to keep walking, a stranger had invaded her dream. The voice called again. Sweet Gods of the heavens, she knew that voice. She came to a dead stop. She was afraid to turn around. Afraid of what she might see. She stood motionless. "Turn around Aphris, look at me". She opened her mouth, but no words came out. Again, the voice commanded her. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and answered it. "Story, you should have learned after all this time, I will do it when I am ready, and not one minute sooner". A familiar chuckle fills the area around them. A laugh so very few heard, but she knew it. Her smile slowly returning to her face as he spoke "Aye child, of this you are correct". Slowly she turns to face him. There he stood, in all his grace and glory. Her small body moved to approached. She looked up into his eyes and he down into hers. His hand reaches up to gently touch her hair. For a long time, no words were spoken, they only took comfort from knowing they shared this moment.

Finally, Story broke the silence. "Why have you called me child?" Her eyebrows furrowed. He was confused, she thought. He had come to her. She had not requested him. "What do you mean Story? I did not call you." His hand continued to gently caress her hair. "Aphris, each time someone has visited you here, in this place, it has been because you have called them." She took a step back, shaking her head. Her voice was timid, a sinking realization slipping into her thoughts "Are you dead?" His gentle touch never wavered from her soft hair "For a very, very long time now, Aphris." He had told her that a thousand times before, why would she think here it would be different. "Why would I call you Story? I mean, yes, I miss you with all my heart, but there is nothing for which I needed from you at this moment in time." Story raises an eyebrow "No?". Aphris just shakes her head. "Let us walk Aphris."

The grass was as green as she had ever seen. Her wildflowers speckled the landscape. Not one billowing cloud filled the sky, only a blue so engulfing it could easily take one's breath away. And the entire time they walked in silence, Aphris searched for a reason she would have called him back. "Maybe I needed to know you were safe." He only shook his head. "That is not reason enough, child." He offered no help. He only walked, keeping her in his shadow, as he had so many times previous, safe from any harm one might try to bestow on her. "You were gone when I returned." His hands moved behind his back. "You knew that day would come Aphris. Though the words were never spoke aloud, you knew, within your heart, that our time together, was only to be a brief period in that realm we shared ." And he was right. She had known all along. How much time had passed since the night they first had met? Weeks? Months? Years? It was hard for her to say anymore. Her time at the Inn, seemed to reach back as far as her memory held. And she could never remember a time when he was not in it. Her voice grew soft "I miss you Story, I miss you being in my life." He only smiled "I am not absent from your life Aphris, I never have been, in this life, or those you choose not to remember." She looked over her shoulder and slightly back. He was talking crazy again. Throwing things out there to only cause her confusion. How he infuriated her at times. He could see it in her eyes. "Was I with you yesterday child?" Her voice grew almost curt "No." "Think Aphris, was I with you yesterday?" A low growl was trying to break free from her throat "This is my dream Story, do not try to lead it down paths I do not wish to travel." His eyes were penetrating down to her very core "You have led it down this path, not I." The growl found its way out. "I do not know why you are here Story, why you think I have summoned you." "But you do Aphris, you know exactly." She stared at him "Is it the recent turn of events in my life?" His facial expression never changed "Is it?" was his only reply. He was exasperating.

"You know of Shaka?" He nods, "I know of Shaka." Her voice continues, "You know of Skye?" Story locks eyes with her once more, "I know of Skye." She licks her lips hesitantly "And you know of my choice to be with one and not the other?" Story brings his hand up and rests it softly on her shoulder "Aphris, sweet child, you have never been able to choose between those two. Not in this life, not in a previous one. You hold them both so dear to your heart. Why do you torment yourself by trying to pick one over the other?" She stood looking at him, not understanding a word he was saying. Story spotted a large rock and slowly walks over to sit on it, his hand beckoning her to follow. As he pulls her to rest in his lap, he begins to speak.

"Since the beginning of time, these two men have captured your heart. In each life you have lived, you always start off in the arms of Skye. As time goes on, your focus turns to that of Shaka. You torment your heart and it weighs heavy in your chest."

He smiles, looking into her green eyes. "Each time, when the pain is more than you think bearable, you call for me. And each time, I come. Each time, I meet you here and explain it once more. I do not mean here, in these fields that bring you so much pleasure, I mean here" he points to her chest "here in your heart. My soul is much older than yours little one. I have learned, over time, that those who are placed into our lives, never truly leave us. We lean on them for strength and support, and they carry us when we cannot carry ourselves." Aphris studies his face, she searches for questions, but none are forth coming. Only an inner peace that seems to fill her heart. "I loved you too Story, remember?" He looks out towards the horizon, knowing his time is growing short "It was a different love Aphris, which is why you did not pursue it." She swallows hard, knowing he speaks only words of truth. "Will I remember this when I wake Story?" He gently stands her on her feet, softly shaking his head "You will only know your heart is not quite so heavy anymore, and that is all you can ask for Aphris, do not ask for more. It is time for me to go." She feels a lump growing in her throat "I do not want you to go Story. Let me stay here with you." He gently touches her forehead, as if placing an enchantment on her. "It is not your time Aphris, and you know that as much as you know anything else."

He turns and walks towards the trees of the forest without another word. Leaving her there with the peace he bestowed in her heart. She watches as he disappears, then slowly turns and walks away.