I awake with great difficulty. This is not an awakening as such but more a struggle to re-gain enough awareness to even begin to think, to begin to understand.
My body is unresponsive, stiff, painful to the last.
I force my eyes to open and it takes a long time to understand that I am lying on the floor in my own room at Tower Keep and I am looking at a bottle of wine and a plate of bread, fruit and cheese that someone has put near me, close enough to see and reach, and far enough to not be broken or spilled if I turned unknowingly.
I can’t see from here but I sense her ahead and above, on the bed where she is supposed to be, in the same state she has been inhabiting ever since I asked her to come nearer and she disappeared entirely.
My energy is so low, so worn down that I find it hard to even question it being so, not to mention coming to a decision that I must do something about it.
I can’t keep my lids open. It is too much of an effort and I let them ease the burning eyeballs with their protective darkness and moisture.
I can’t think, I can’t do.
Of course, I can.
I can do both.
But the truth is I want to do neither.
I refuse to rise to the occasion and the challenge.
And I cannot remember a single time in my life where I would have taken such a choice.
I lie for the longest time in stupor and exhaustion, fight it not and bemoan it not, accept it as it is and remain right there with all of it and not seek comfort or escape in any action nor the walk into the layers of cool white that would soon end this state and all its conflicts, all its sufferings and all its helplessness.
After a time, from a distance I hear a child crying.
Then I hear footsteps and voices and the door opens.
Reyna. The Serein princess, the bitchlet, a good for nothing little whore, whatever, whatever. She is speaking over the noise of the child.
“You really should not be here. No-one is to enter here but me and you know that.”
Another voice, petulant, urgent. I don’t recognise it, it is a woman’s voice.
“I just want to see if he’s alright, if he needs anything.”
I tune myself to the voice and slowly begin to remember who that is and how I know her.
The child’s noise comes closer and then moves off to the right.
Someone touches my hair and a shockwave travels throughout me in an instant. There is a deep recognition and a yearning, a hunger and a need to take this flaring power and make it my own, to feed on it and to restore my balance and equilibrium.
There is also a not wanting to do this, a profound sense of depth and despair, hard coiled resolution that despoils an understanding I can neither frame nor trace.
I feel so lonely.
I am tired, so tired and I don’t wish it to end.
I don’t wish to feel nor to hear the sounds in the room, and I don’t wish to perceive anything.
I shut down and slowly, slowly drift away from myself, into myself perhaps, into a place where I can be who I need to be to be restored to me. To find my way back to a time when dreaming was an option and illusions were reality. To remember a way that I had so long forgotten that it was in midnight, ununderstood now and only vaguely spoken of in passing.
Turning inside gave me a shadow feeling of silence and compassion with that self that would have to be left, bitterly stranded and in an eternity of deepest wells and darkest nevermore, would have to be left to the rising rivers and the normal senses of nothing, nothing at all.
And so the landscape turned slowly towards the horizon as the sun went down, round rolling sun on a round rolling horizon so much larger with the diameter that makes you wonder what is big and what is small and if a one can ever know a single instance, never mind a never more that could remind you of the coming of the night, and here it comes, with soft velvet edging in so slowly, so silently, and it is not available for me to know just where the demarcation lies here, or indeed, if there ever was a border between shadow and gold, and if ever there was such a thing, it was entirely made from misconceptions about the nature of future and of past.
The silk black night and now, the stars rising up, diamonds scattered into an ocean that rise to the surface one at a time, drift forth, discharge their lights and their best dispositions and recede again so they may yet recharge again from the mysterious depths where all lies unseen, but waiting, nonetheless.
The stars are dancing.
They are calling me, I can feel their song inside my coils, I can feel their voices.
They are calling to me and I know, I just know, if what I sought was to be found at all, here it would be, here it would come, waiting so slow and wavering this way, then that, forming thoughts and desolations in the width and breadth until I might arrive there somehow.
It all makes sense if only I could be everyone who could know that the war is over.
If only I could.
If I could angle myself to the horizontal and listen with my fingertips, perhaps I could repair what was dying and broken and perhaps I could then rise to the starfields and begin to quarter, back and back, sideways and in turning loops of time inside themselves, I could truly understand and be united.
I need to sigh myself away and let go of all of it.
I sigh myself away and let go of all of it.
There I drift on the tides at last, and in their subtlety, there is a current that is the cure of my disease. It takes me in a direction that is nowhere and in doing so, spreads me far and wide, further and wider, thinning of awareness and allness, and yet there is more now, even though there is so much less.
And finally, finally, on the very threshold, there it is.
There she is.
She was here all along, for she is everywhere.
As am I.