The Seers’ Nightmare

For several weeks Alyan had been in great distress. He had been entirely unable to get even a wink of sleep and had instead been drafting and consuming large quantities of potions to stay awake. He did not know what lay behind the sleep he had purposely postponed but he knew it was anything but a consoling refuge as his tired brain wanted him to believe.

Unfortunately, this medically induced insomnia was not without consequence as he began to develop severe life-threatening conditions that had him taken to Hospital. While there, the healers did not heed his requests to remain awake and instead pumped him up with as many sleep potions as they could. It took a while and a vast array of potions but finally, Alyan fell asleep.

Even in dream state, Alyan’s mind was fully aware of the fact that he was asleep and he therefore decided that since he was in the dream realm already, he’d take the opportunity to lucid dream while hiding from the malevolent force that wished to claim him in this dream state. For a while, he was able to navigate his dreamscape alone and dreamed of she that was meant to be his but had been stolen from him along with his true destiny.

Alyan had known it from the moment he knew to spell his name that he was a gifted Seer and that he was meant for great things. Though coming from a poor family, he knew he had received the Seer’s gift when all of a sudden, he could predict with almost absolute accuracy what would happen and it almost always happened exactly as he said it would. To protect him, his parents encouraged him to keep his gifts to himself and not share them with anyone but their family and a few trusted family friends. A young Alyan did not understand why his parents insisted that he kept his gift to himself but when he grew up, he knew exactly why.

He acquired the power of retro-cognition in school, another rare gift he possessed in addition to the Seer’s ability. This gift allowed him to travel back to his own past and learn the truth. The poor family he had lived with all his life was not his own as when he was a new-born baby, he had been kidnapped and replaced with the poor farmer’s real son, a seer who was less powerful than he.

The other young boy had then replaced Alyan as the son of the ultimate ruler of the Realm he lived in known as Wintria. The other young boy would succeed his real father as the Prince of their people and he was renowned for being the greatest seer to grace the Third Plain of Existence and was its only Oracle, top religious and political figure head. How the kidnappers and those involved had been able to orchestrate the switch and fool everyone including the most powerful Seer in the Third Plane of Existence into believing that the poor farmer’s son was truly Alyan truly traumatized and terrified Alyan who became less reluctant to use his abilities from then on.

And so Alyan had continued living as the poor farmers’ son and upon turning 21, when he was of age, Alyan and the rest of the Kingdom of Wintria, all witnessed the coronation of the boy, Prince Ismead that had replaced him and the only successor to his real father, Crowned Prince Stilbe the second. He wanted to burst out screaming but his cowardice did not allow him to utter a peep. As the celebration and jubilation at the Succession Festivities were underway, Alyan  decided that he had had just a little more than he could handle and decided that his only option was to return to his home like the loser he always felt he was, until he saw her.

She was one of the guards protecting the Prince and his son that day and she completely bewildered him. She was shorter than him by about a foot but was still very tall considering Alyan was among the tallest ice nymphs in Wintria. Her hair was pearly white and gorgeous, wrapped up in bundles and knots as the warriors of their kind who were mostly female, wore their hair. Her eyes were a steely black color like dark ice. She was undoubtedly the most beautiful nymph he had ever seen. He stared at her and her name soon floated and echoed in the chambers of his mind and heart… ‘Thea’.

His heart beat faster and he suddenly had the urge to take flight. Thea. What a beautiful name for such a gorgeous woman. He was beyond infatuated with her; he was obsessed and he felt a pull unlike anything he had ever experienced toward her. She was his safety; his protection; his life… She was his destiny; the destiny he was meant to have. He stared at her and obsessively followed her every movement until she noticed him just as she and another warrior were conversing and she stared straight at him.

There was nothing else happening in the universe at that moment but he and Thea staring at each other. She stared at him in awe. There was no doubt in his mind that she felt the pull too; the invisible strings tugging at both of them to get closer. Even the conversation she was having was long forgotten as she continued staring at Alyan who had the sudden urge to walk up to her right then.

Thea apologized to the other warrior for ignoring her and began closing the distance between them but Alyan disappeared without a trace. He headed straight home, retreating to his room and took deep breaths to calm himself down. He made the resolution to never visit the capitol from then on.

However, one year from that experience, Alyan was still thinking and fantasizing about her even after Prince Ismead took her for his own Protector. He knew that he and Thea were ‘imprinted’ otherwise being away from her wouldn’t matter and even hurt the way it did but there was just nothing a poor farmer’s boy had to offer a brilliantly skilled warrior like Thea. He could not drag her into this hellish life. Besides, he was fully aware that if Thea knew of their imprinting, she’d abandon protecting the Prince and if they were caught, they’d be executed for treason and conspiring against the crown.

As he continued shaping his dreamscape to keep the malevolent force at bay, he envisioned Thea and focused on the happy possible futures they had been denied of for whatever nefarious purpose whoever orchestrated this life he was forced to live had for them. He would happily have remained in his happy dreams had the malevolent force not started reshaping his dreamscape turning it dark.

Suddenly, he was not living in the Prince’s Castle with his glowing new mate, Thea. He was in an arena of sorts facing down a masked warrior slowly approaching him and right behind the warrior was what appeared to be a floating insubstantial mass which slowly but surely reshaped forming the shape of a woman.

The warrior paused within mere inches of Alyan and woman floated right behind him, partially corporeal and part incorporeal

He had a eerie feeling that he knew the woman somehow but he couldn’t quite put his finger on when or how he had met her. She smiled and said, “It’s nice to see you again, old friend.”

“Who are you? Have we met before?”

She cackled malevolently and it chilled him to the core.

“We have met before,” the woman responded quite vaguely.

“Where and when have we met before?”

She did not answer his question but instead encircled her warrior as if he was a prize.

“This is my greatest prize, my dear- my prized warrior,”

“Why have you brought me here?”

She giggled gleefully as she planted a kiss on her warrior’s cheek and he nodded, turning to face Alyan. Without warning, the warrior sent a fireball flying towards Alyan’s heart, a clear indication that he was there to fight Alyan to the death. Alyan ducked just in time to avoid certain death but the fight was just beginning.

The warrior was very skilled and Alyan was dodging his attacks by sheer luck alone. For some reason, he could not rely on his Seer’s gift to help him fight the warrior. Nothing seemed to work against the warrior and even running away was not enough as the woman had the tendency to suddenly erase where he would take his step and he would dangle precariously on the dream’s edge.

“How… disappointing. I thought you’d be braver than that. Maybe you are just a poor farmer’s son,” said the woman mockingly.

Alyan thought she was right. He’d never been particularly brave or strong or even powerful. He’d been a coward all his life. Maybe he really didn’t deserve to be the Third Plain’s Oracle after all. Maybe he should take the shortcut and just let the warrior kill him. And then he thought of Thea, his Protector. He was really not the best ‘innocent’ to be tied to her. If he died, he knew what it would mean for Thea. She’d either die along with him or live a half-life, devoid of all happiness and meaning. He would either condemn her to a fate worse than death or death itself…

How could he do that to her? Did she not deserve happiness even if it was not with him by her side? She was a brilliant warrior and she deserved a decent shot at life. He needed to win this battle and somehow defeat both the woman and her warrior. He thought of Thea and felt emboldened.

“What’s this? Ah, Thea, I knew should have invited her to the party,” said the woman cackling.

“Keep her out of this! This is my fight alone!”

The woman continued cackling and then summoned a very confused and frightened Thea into the corrupted dreamscape.

“No! No! Send her back, she doesn’t deserve to be here,”

Thea stared at him and then looked at the warrior slowly building up enough energy for another fireball attack. Without hesitating, she threw a snowball at the warrior halting his progress. “Hey ugly, over here!” she taunted.

“Oh what fun! I should have brought her here first! Silly me,” the woman cackled. The warrior turned to face Thea.

“No! No! Over here!” Alyan called to the masked warrior but it was no use. His sights were set on Thea. Alyan watched and whimpered as the warrior engaged Thea in a fierce battle and in a short while, Thea was clearly on the losing streak. The warrior’s strokes were unforgiving and brutal and soon Thea was at his mercy, under his merciless dragon-hide boots with the warrior’s hand filled with a huge fireball that would undoubtedly be fatal to Thea.

“No! It’s me you want! Let her go,” Alyan pleaded helplessly.

The woman cackled gleefully. “You know how to stop him, Alyan. Fight him or watch your love die,”

” I- I can’t. I’m a coward. Please, she doesn’t deserve to suffer because of me. I’ll do whatever you want. Please-”

The woman was unaffected by his words and her warrior released the fireball from his hand with deadly precision. Right then, when he knew Thea was going to die because of him,  he released all the anger and frustration he had kept inside by screaming so loudly that he blew away everything in the twisted nightmare into oblivion. He could still hear the woman’s evil cackling in his now obliterated nightmare and could feel her and her warrior trying to reshape it and transform it into a new nightmare.

“Stay the hell out of my dreams!” he screamed and willed them  to leave his mind with all his strength and felt their imprints exit his mind permanently.

He then sought Thea in his mind until he found her and thought that he couldn’t possibly admire her more. She had been so brave and even then when the whole world had fallen apart right before her eyes and nothing but darkness and entrapment in another’s mind was imminent, she was not frightened and did not appear to be vulnerable. She was as strong as ever.

“Are you alright?” Thea asked him. Her concern for him was touching and reassuring. He nodded and smiled sheepishly.

Thea smiled and said, “That was really cool, you know? You saved my life. Thank you.”

Alyan shook his head. “I’m the reason you were in danger in the first place. I- I wasn’t brave enough to defeat them on my own,”

“You could have fooled me,” she said reassuringly.

“Well then, now that I know that you’re safe, I guess this is goodbye,” Alyan said turning his back on her but paused when she called out to him.

“Who are you, sir?”

“I am a poor farmer’s son,” he responded.

Thea shook her head. “There’s… more to you than that. Ever since I first saw you at the Succession Festivities, I haven’t been able to shake you off my mind. I see your face every time I close my eyes and you are my first thought  when I wake up in the morning . Sometimes I zone out thinking about you and where you are and what you’re doing and it terrifies me whenever I think that you are in danger,”

“Trust me, Thea, your life is much better without me in it. Just- just leave and try to forget about me,”

” I- I can’t leave. Being away from you is- is impossible. It- it hurts me,” she said.

Alyan sighed. ” You can’t stay either, Thea. I’m sorry but I don’t want you here,”

His words hurt both of them. “Now, I will only say this once for your benefit! Goodbye, Thea. I hope to never see you again,” he said and willed his mind to entirely but safely eject Thea back to her own mind. He awoke at the Hospital Wing and wept, his soul crushed and made a vow to forever forget about the Protector that he had been denied.

Thea woke up on the couch where she’d fallen asleep before she was ripped away from her usual dreams and forcibly inserted into the wicked nightmare. Her innocent, the Prince of the Ice Nymphs of Wintria and successor to the throne, Prince Ismead gently sighed in his sleep and turned from lying on his left side to his right, unaware of her predicament. She thought of the cold rejection of the man she had braved a warrior more powerful than herself for and it stung her as hot as a white hot rod, (fatal to an Ice Nymph as she) and she found herself crying.

There was certainly more to that man than she knew and it was apparent that they were imprinted souls. How would she live without him? Was it possible to forget about your innocent even if it was out of duty or respecting his wishes? And why did he want her away from him? Was she not a worthy Protector? These thoughts tormented Thea and she doubted they’d ever truly go away and so the bravest warrior in Wintria prepared herself for the hardest battle she’d ever have to face- the battle against her own nature; an attempt to live without her innocent quite possibly for all time.