In Serein

3-5-4 I Am Near


I am here.

Where is here?

Your house in Merina.

Is that where here is?

Here is where you are.

But where I am, you are not.

I am near you.

Ah, yes. You are. You are near. I like that.


Who else is near?

Your – our – child.

Ah, yes. So he is. He is well.

He is well, indeed.

Who else is near?

Reyna and your special boy. And Catena, outside.

Are they well?

I don’t know.

But they are, aren’t they?

They are near.

That is good. I like them near.



I am near.

Who am I?

I don’t know.

What is my name?

You are called Isca.

Yes, I remember now. But what does that mean?

I don’t know.

If you don’t know, who could?

That I don’t know either.


Are you well, Lucian?

I don’t know.

You don’t feel well.

I apologise.

No need. You are what you are.


Where are you taking me?

To Tower Keep.

To Marani?

No. She died.

She is not near then.

No. She died.

But she is well.

Yes. That she is.



I am near.

Why do I know you?

I can’t answer that question.

I remember you.

I remember you too.

Will you always be near?

We are always near.

I remember missing you.

We were always near.

I didn’t know that.

I didn’t know it either.



I am near.

Where is your tapestry?

It was lost.

It should be near.

I will bring it to you.

It is needed.

I will bring it to you.

Thank you.


She was distressed about the absence of the tapestry and she watched me in a diffuse way as I re-traced time backwards to a point where the tapestry still existed in this very room, in this my room where she now lay once more upon my bed, and where the baby nuzzled at her breast and made strange animal noises.

It was not too great an effort to take it and bring it to us and as I did so, it occurred to me the reason that it had not been here was the very fact that on this day, I took it away.

I spread it across her and she smiled, her eyes still focussing on something far in the distance, far beyond the wall across the room where my Tadara sat upon the wall.



I am near, Isca.

Can you be nearer?


I sat down on the bed beside her and took her hand.


Can you be nearer?


I lay down beside her, carefully as not to dislodge the child from her breast and cautiously placed my arm about her.


Can you be nearer?


I tried to link tighter with her but she was too spread out for this and I could not.


I don’t know how to be nearer.

It is lonely without you, Lucian.

I don’t know how to be nearer.

I want to be closer to you.

Come closer to me, then.


There was a movement in the cloudy awareness that she was, a gathering that came towards me and did not touch me, but flowed into me, around me, through me in the strangest way. I tried to meet this awareness but it was everywhere at once and nowhere in particular and I could not find a way to link with her. It was impossible, as impossible as understanding the magic of her patterns had once been to me.

A sadness rose in me that was old and profound, and I recognised it for what it was and did not seek to fight or deny it as my own.

Isca. You are leaving me behind again. I cannot follow where you have gone. You move too fast, too swiftly for me and I cannot follow you.

Around me, the awareness that she is vibrates in tremendous sorrow and compassion. I cannot find a need to defend myself from this even if I would know how I possibly could. She is everywhere at once and there is no place left to hide, nor any reason to attempt this futile gesture that serves nothing more than spawn yet more illusions and strengthen the oldest ones to immortality.

I open my eyes and am deeply dismayed to find that my face is wet. I call her.


She is there, but there is no answer from her that I can understand.

Isca, I cannot … I know not …

Her body lies still and her eyes are open, her lashes opening and closing slowly in time, but she sees me not nor hears me on any level at all.

I don’t know what I should do now.

I could return her to a state of the past, any one of my choosing if I would use one of the many major Guardians that must be still in the monasteries or could be found wherever they may be in the blink of an eye.

I could return us both to a time before all of this happened, all of it.

I could go back to Tower Keep, two years ago, and take the place of my then current self with ease for he would never stand a chance against me, and I could start again from a different vantage point, more aligned to her and with the hope that I could keep in synchronicity with her this time.

It is a most desperately tempting conjecture, indeed.