by SJ Longtaile
Sometimes dreams can't be told apart from nightmares or visions.
Titania Attor, Queen of Brydain, Empress of the greatest empire west of the Rhine, did not dream, of that she was certain. When she slumbered, it was amidst a void of blackness, utter nothingness. Yet, there she was; floating, or perhaps she was standing, on what she couldn’t tell for she saw nothing save for one thing.
Wicked, glowing eyes that burned hotter than smouldering embers, eyes that bore right into her very soul, or what was left of it. A face came forth soon after, a face that mocked her waking moments, she supposed she shouldn’t have been surprised that he would haunt her subconscious as well.
“What do you want?” she snarled at him, it, this being was a witch, not a man despite the form he took. He was a devil, not unlike the shadows she employed, she mused, though he was infinitely worse than the shadows.
The creature stared impassively at her. Those eyes bore ever deeper into her, she felt as if they would burn her up from the inside out. His mouth was moving she realized, though the words were lost to the void.
She frowned, something old and tired within her squirmed with a need, an incessant feeling telling her that what the thing was saying was important.
“What do you want?” she demanded more fiercely, “You managed to escape me, now you see fit to mock me? Is that what this is?”
The witch’s eyes flickered, a slight, serpentine sway of his head followed by a terribly pitiful expression falling over his spectral face, he looked almost human with that kind of mask on.
Something horribly vicious twisted in Titania’s gut, she knew that expression, she’d seen it far too many times. Memories bubbled from the depths of her mind, begging to be recalled, but she refused. Still, that didn’t stop another face from coming to the forefront of her mind. A kind face, angelic almost, eyes so blue they shone like jewels, leaving a fading light as she banished the memory.
“You are lost.”
The words shocked the Queen of Brydain, snapping her attention back to the apparition before her.
“What?” The word tumbled from her in surprise.
“Lost,” it repeated, voice soft and lulling, “I know, and I can help you.”
“Help me, with what?” she breathed, still stunned which allowed words she never knew she was capable of uttering escape from her unchecked.
“Finding your way,” it said simply, “There is a way.”
“My way?” she repeated curiously.
“Yes, you are lost. But there is a way out,” its voice was having a peculiar effect on her, she noted idly, being swept along by it.
“Lost, am I?” she murmured, everything was becoming muddled and blurred, “Way out?”
It was all like a fever dream, she determined, utter nonsense, conjurings of a rattled mind, nothing more.
And with that, she dismissed the apparition.
Titania woke with a start, jolting back into her body, wisps of the strange dream clinging to her mind, other kinds of wisps too.
The shadows crept and slithered about the darkness, flirting with the light of the lone candle that she had taken to always keeping lit when she was alone.
Concerned blue eyes peered at her through the dimness.
Sleep still weighed down her mind, she shifted in her throne, head lolling from one shoulder to the other, not fully conscious she spoke, “What are you doing, child? You should be in bed, Adam.”