Foolish enough to believe their cause...
|"I think... it's time for me to go, Mia."|
14 years. That's how long my lie has held.
"Pardon? You... said you didn't needed to go anywhere today. Unless it's another one of those awful orders..."
She sighs, shaking her head at the offending pile of sealed letters.
"You know well enough not to trust them."
I try and fail to suppress a laugh, "They come from me, you know. My deepest fear put to paper... and it doesn't even exist to begin with."
She watches me with earnest interest, that expression quickly shifting to puzzled, "... How do you mean? I've seen the courier come in many times during the illness you suffered from last month... there isn't any way you wrote them for yourself. And even then, whatever would be the point?"
I remain silent for several minutes, tracing the lines along the map of the vast continent of Hasdeln. So much detail, so little point. "Do you ever question what you would do, if I simply... didn't wake up tomorrow? If I passed on for seemingly no reason..."
Predictably, this brushes up against both her protective and posessive instincts, she hurries over, nosing my body as though expecting to catch the scent of blood, or the sight of trauma. "No, no there is no reason to expect such an occurance, I swore never to let it happen. Why in Traearch's name would you speak of such a thing?" She demands, before repeating in a softer tone, "Whatever makes you think that would happen...?"
I drum over the thought, "None of this is real." I say plainly, waving an arm around the cavern, to us, no... merely to her, it took months to convert it from a bare space to a comfortable living situation.
"The walls, the sky, the whole world... even the body you see aren't. It's all false."
I turn to her, letting a tear fall as it likes. "Even you."
She merely snorts, as though having understood the punchline in a good joke, "But that's quite impossible, I can see, hear, smell and taste as I should be able to. If I were fake, I wouldn't point out such miniscule details, would I?"
She pauses, waiting for an anwer.
"I'm sorry my dear... but this is the truth. This has been the truth for some fourteen years." The world dances briefly, splitting into visions of twos and threes... before fading to a mute black, a void filled with shifting, if distant color.
"But whatever does that matter?"
I open my eyes: The same blue walls, low ceiling, unfinished doorframe. Ugly, hideous reality. My eyes close again, shutting it away.
A new world perhaps, new life...
"Michael..." Mia whispers, distant.
"What does it matter if I'm not as real as you want me to be? Even now, you still listen. You still lean on my voice, You shut out the world, simply to pull me close."
I remain silent, pulling my attention to another idea. Temeraire? Wings of Fire?
... Hundreds of times, I've cast myself into those worlds.
... And it shifts, I now stand in the desert of the Kingdom of Sand, overlooking Queen Thorn's stronghold in the distance. The residual Rift energy has yet to fade.
"You keep me close to heart. My thoughts and words may be your own, but you still find comfort in hearing them."
I shake my head, drawing a sigil in the air. One beat, two...
And abruptly, I stand in an open chamber, miles beneath Jade Mountain.
The everpresent hum of the Conduit is a welcome sound. The network is stable. The continent is safe.
Another sigil, another blink. This time to the Wellspring.
White and cyan Purity swirls, it dances silently against the inky black and purple of Taint. There is balance. All is well.
"And even now that you've told the truth, you refuse to let go. You refuse to drop me, despite the pain of holding me aloft for so long."
I sigh and glance up. There she resides, watching me without any sign of care for the world she's been pulled into.
"I of all people should know how you still care, but I'm at a loss for it." I say, but she simply smiles at me.
"You don't need to know. Sometimes... you just need to trust in others. Even if I don't exist." She adds ruefully.
The world fizzles away, Mia approaches, sealing me in a world of herself; her wings are the sky, her underbelly is the ground, her forelegs and talons make gravity.
She is real. Steady breathing, a strong heart, wings and ledgs ready to carry me across oceans, continents, worlds...
She is false, she is merely a character in my mind.
"But to you, I am real."
Yes my dear... you are, and always will be.