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Nightmares


by eternally_forgotten

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"Both sisters could foresee the future - Isca in her dreams, and Caylis in her nightmares."

      The waves splashed against the sandy beach, carrying with them the lonely call of the wind. In this deserted and forsaken place, one can almost hear the mournful sobbing of another lost soul who dared wander the wide blue seas.

      Caylis watched the city from a distance, her light purple eyes bitter and angry. The Maraquan Aisha was hidden from view behind an undersea hill. She stared resentfully at the city where she had been brought to, where she had been promised a home and a haven of safety. Turning her purple-blue eyes away, as if she could not bear the sight of the newly rebuilt city of Maraqua, she swam back to her home, a shadowed and secluded cave, somewhere in the depths of the dark ocean.

     "Eventually the king had to send Caylis into exile to protect his people. Nothing has been seen of her since, but sometimes when the sea is quiet, you can still hear her mournful sobbing from far away."

     Drifting aimlessly with a current, Caylis started as she heard a familiar voice speaking.

      "Go quickly to the surface. There are unpleasant things in these waters."

      She looked out from behind the passage that Isca and someone else, a surface dweller, had just come through. She saw her sister talking with a Usul, apparently helping him get back to the surface. For a moment she wondered why Isca was doing this. To communicate with a surface dweller meant certain and undoubted exile. Then, her mind switched back to her own troubles. Caylis waited until the surface dweller was gone before she confronted her sister. Her voice was angry, as it had always seemed to be after Maraqua had been destroyed.

      "Caylis!"

      Ignoring her sister's surprised and happy cry, she said icily, "It's been a long time. Are you no longer Kelpbeard's favourite?"

      "I still have my dreams, and they still help our people." Isca's voice was uncertain, touched with a sad forlornness.

      "Your people, Isca, not mine," Caylis said bitterly. "I have been banished, remember?"

      "I did not ask for the dreams to come to me, sister. What would you have me do, keep them to myself?"

      "Neither did I ask for my nightmares," Caylis shot back. Her purple eyes were hard and angry. "They horrify me in my sleep, and my waking hours are filled with loneliness. Go back to your luxury, Isca. It is better that we never meet again."

      As she swam away, Caylis looked back one last time, to see Isca - staring sadly after her, her blue-green eyes overly bright with tears. Brushing away her own bitter tears, she darted ahead, swimming faster and faster as memories poured through her tortured mind, still seeing Isca's large green eyes looking mournfully at her as she swam away.

     Old Maraqua: "A once magnificent city, Maraqua was torn apart by an ancient pirate curse."

      Isca's voice pierced through her nightmare into her frightened awareness. "Caylis, wake up!"

      Dragged away from her terrible nightmare, Caylis opened her light purple eyes, still staring at something unseen in the near future. She didn't even seem to see her sister, much less her worried frown. Speaking almost to herself, she murmured, "I saw... pirates. Everywhere." Her voice was soft with worry. " They came with swords and weapons of all kinds, most of which we have never seen. Swarming, so many of them. Too many. We were helpless against them. There seemed to be faeries helping them as well, as magic helped the destruction of Maraqua. The pirates took everything - breaking into our homes, stealing everything valuable, and many things that were not. Then, the whirlpool started, the faeries chanted their spell, and our beautiful city was no more, ruined, a mess of ruins on the ocean floor."

      Caylis looked up at her sister, tears streaming down her face. "Isca? Do I cause these things? Why must the worries of the world creep into my dreams? Why? Who did this to us - to me?"

      Isca had no answer for her sister's tortured eyes. She did her best to comfort her, but a sudden, more urgent thought entered her head. "Caylis! What you - we - see is always true. We must warn Maraqua!"

      Caylis's only reply was a bitter laugh. "No matter what we do, Maraqua will still be destroyed, sister. What are we against what will happen? We cannot change what we see. The dreams must come true." But nevertheless, she followed Isca as the Maraquan Aisha swam outside to spread the news.

      A day had passed, and still no one believed them. Isca was losing heart, just as Caylis had done hours before. Caylis had already fallen asleep, again tortured with her haunted dreams. Isca could feel sleep tugging at her, after a day's weary and hopeless work. Giving in, she closed her eyes, falling asleep immediately. And her dreams came.

      Isca's dreams were strikingly vivid that night, more real than dreams should ever be. She saw exactly as Caylis had described: pirates, everywhere. But she also saw something else - she saw herself and her sister, safe from danger in a cave with a small opening, overlooked by everyone except for themselves. The time was also given her. The pirates could come tomorrow at dawn. She shook Caylis awake.

      Caylis tossed and turned in her restless sleep. At night, she was haunted by her dreams. At day, she was haunted by reality, the knowing that her nightmares would come true; the feeling of helplessness that was always in her. She drifted with the current, an aimless wanderer of the fathomless seas, her sense of right and wrong torn from her by her endless nightmares... that always came to pass.

     "Ever since she was a child, bad things always seemed to happen whenever Caylis got upset."

      Isca had always been there to wake her up when her nightmares got worse. But after she was banished, there was no one to offer a comforting shoulder to cry on, no one to wake her up when her nightmares became so real that she was lost in them, a part of her dreams. Caylis's nightmares had become a horror filled part of her that she could not get rid of. Her dreams became more vivid, more terrible, after she had left the city. They all included one thing, echoing her desire for revenge, New Maraqua. Even with her gone from the city, her dreams affected the rebuilding of the city, slowing it down, until the Maraquans could safely bet on, and win, a gamble of catastrophe. In their dreams, all saw Caylis's hate-filled eyes staring at them, accusing them for all that they had done.

      Safe in her room in New Maraqua, Isca unconsciously reached through a bond - a natural bond between herself and Caylis. The bond was the simple fact that they were sisters, closer friends than any could be. Straining, the Maraquan Aisha reached over into Caylis's haunted sleep, trading, for one night, her own dreams for her sister's nightmares. For one night, Caylis would rest. For one night, she would dream. She could bear her sister's nightmares for that time; after all, Caylis had had them for her whole, entire life.

      Miles away, Caylis slept on, for the first time in her tormented nights, a smile graced her face as Nightmare was washed away by Dream.

            Friend, why would you want to see the future?

     You want, but cannot have; you have, but do not want.

     "Ah," You say. "If I could but see what the future holds for me, I would be content."

     Well, friend, I ask you again. Are you sure you want to know?

 The End

 
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