Wordcount: 632 words
Summary: Please note, this is currently a very rough draft. There will be spelling and grammatical errors afoot as well as flat out bad writing, info dumps, plot holes, flat out contradictions, and uneven characterization and pacing. (Content is also subject to constant change as I take an editing chainsaw to the story.)
Alice Through The Looking Lake
May dreamed she had tripped and fallen into the hole in the lakebed. She fell and fell and fell until it stopped feeling like it was falling. She gave up waiting for the ground and tried to see into the darkness. There was nothing, no sound, no light, just the air rushing past her and an odd feeling in her core.
“May” came a voice through the darkness and she reached out for Baron. But he was not there. Frantic now, she reached out again and this time brushed past something old and empty. She shrank back, but it had already noticed her and she felt the void around her narrow.
There was a rush as the ancient mind latched on to hers and she was buried in waves of fire that raced down her mind and filled her full, so full that she would burst from the sheer power of it—and then it was gone.
“May.” Said the fire, as it pulled her not into a circle, but into an orbit, safely outside the edges of the overwhelming flames.
“Are you the Oracle?” she asked, but what she meant was “Is this a nightmare?” and the fire heard both and laughed.
“I am the dawn,” said the flames and she saw the sun rise against the desert, the heat rippling and dashing against the rocks. “What would you ask of me, so tiny a thing you are?” the fire stopped her fall, cushioned her and did not burn.
“I’ve lost my future.” She said. “I need it back.”
“It was not theirs to give,” said the fire bemused. “I can’t give you what you were not meant to have, silly thing, young thing. I don’t give, I take.” And the fire flared up in an endless hunger that lapped at the edges of her mind. “But I only take what is given, no more.”
“Then I don’t know what to do.” May said, in despair, “I came here to get my future back so that we can survive. Without it I don’t know what to do.” She thought of the army that pursed them, the forces that still threatened their world, and the forces that might still lie beyond the sea.
“That is not the world, silly child.” The fire said with a laugh and they rose on fiery wings up over her memory of the world, up and up and up until the three kingdoms were just a smudge against a deep blue sea. And beyond the sea was a land so vast and wide she could not grasp the breadth of it.
They were doomed.
The wings took them down again, to where the span of waves between the kingdoms and the nearest shore took up all of her view. That the blue ships had come so far was both impressive and terrifying.
“Not so bad as that, small one.” The fire comforted, “There are more dangers in the sea than you could dream of. Keep them here and they will assume them lost. There are more fairytales than just an oracle, and you are one of them.”
May looked out across the distance, still much too far for her to judge or wrap her mind around. She remembered the bickering among the soldiers, who just wanted to go home. The fire was right, they did not have to win, they just had to keep them here.
“Thank you,” she told the fire.
“It’s just a dream” it said, as the light faded in the darkness. “Just a dream, but you are such an odd small young thing…”
There was one last flash of fire, of widespread wings and massive coiled body shifting in its sleep, the hiss of scales that sounded like the wind over the dunes.