I was wandering through a darkened corridor, holding a torch before I realized I was Dreaming. I was fully dressed, as I had been at my coronation, the crown of Cornan on my brow, in a dress uniform of Camadan when I came upon the hall.
“You’ve arrived,” a hissing voice of a shadow said. “Our Lady will welcome you.” I swallowed and followed it, not sure if I was ready to confront Amina, but knowing I didn’t have much choice.
I followed the shadow to a hall, again lit with torches, and the hissing of shadows surrounding me.
“Ah,” a cool female voice echoed in my mind as I entered the hall, “the guest of honor, or if she wishes, even the officiant.” I turned my head and saw a woman beside me, ghostly pale, dressed entirely in black, her eyes glowing red. “Surely, Your Majesty, you will bless your cousins in their union.” I swallowed and my eyes were drawn to the front of the hall. Marina was dressed as a bride, all in white, veiled and as dignified as she ever looked. Brayton stood beside her.
“Annalise, please,” Marina’s voice called out, but it felt vague and far off, “don’t,” Brayton took her wrist and pulled her to him. I swallowed.
“If you will not bless them,” Amina said and I felt her cold touch on me, “I will unite them regardless.”
“She won’t submit to you,” I hissed, “or him. She’s stronger than you can possibly imagine, even than I am.” Amina laughed coldly.
“Oh my darling Queen,” she said, “of course she’s stronger than you. My sister played both cards she was handed, but she always knew one was the trump, and it wasn’t you, despite our brother having a claim on you as well. Your power pales in comparison to hers, surely you know this.” I looked forward and swallowed, seeing Marina struggle against him.
“I’ve never denied it,” I said, “but you forget, My Lady, I hold the balance, and she had bent to that.” She nodded. “And she will not submit to you, or your chosen. You will never have your sword, Lady Amina.” She laughed then.
“No, I suppose you don’t deny it,” she said softly, “of course I still hold one you love in my kingdom.” I swallowed as Caleb materialized in front of me.
“Hello, Little One,” he said softly, his voice sounded far away. I knew it had to be true, that Amina held his soul, because I hadn’t felt him and he wasn’t buried yet, but I hated it.
“Caleb,” I said softly. Amina smiled at me. “I’m sorry, I can’t,” I swallowed.
“Don’t be afraid,” he said, “remember everything.” I swallowed, nodded at him and ran to the front and took the Dream Marina by the hands.
“Do not be afraid.” I whispered meeting her eyes.
“What would I fear?” She whispered and then I felt the knife in my back, which was wielded by Brayton.
I awoke and gasped.
“Lisette,” Tristan’s voice reached me, when I realized I was screaming, “Lisette, shh, it was dream, you’re safe, you’re with me.” I looked up at him and swallowed as he pushed my hair off my face. “It’s alright love.” He whispered and kissed my forehead. “What did you See?”
“Amina,” I said softly, “and Brayton and Marina and they killed me.” He nodded. “That isn’t new, I dreamed it so many times.” I sighed and leaned back against the pillows. “I need a drink.” I popped out of bed and walked into the parlor. Marina was already on the couch. I went to her and we talked. Tristan seemed angry at us both, but Marina asserted that this wasn’t about him.
She was of course right. He had nothing to do with the card game between Amina and Rana that resulted in the strange balance Marina and I found ourselves in. He’d said it himself, that if Cornan were to choose a champion it would probably be Athena, not him.
He didn’t like that. He doesn’t like being passive. I know it’s why he’s leaving. He can’t do anything here and it’s killing him. It’s killing all of us.