"He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it." —Douglas Adams
Thy son... Thy son, Darling. Thine only son... At first, Ada could barely recognize the dull rumbling inside her head as a voice. Its volume gradually increased, but it felt more like the steadily approaching thunder of a distant storm than a true voice. In fact, Ada thought it probably was only thunder right up to the moment when Isala responded: "Is it thou, Lamb? What of Thrako? What knowest thou of him?"
Until this otherworldly call pulled them from their respective dreams, Isala and Ada had been fast asleep in their shared Shadow vessel. To an outside observer, it would have appeared that this "Azama" was still sleeping, but her two Yili inhabitants were now wide awake, straining to perceive any further messages that might drift their way.
What hath happened to him? continued the whispering thunder. He is here... with me... but his mind hath gone silent.
"He is with thee?" Isala called out in alarm. "Send him back to me! What is wrong with Thrako?!"
Ada was beginning to piece it together. The voice must have been Vanon, the Mountain King—her own father! Before she could think better of it, Ada blurted out, "Father?" All these years, she'd been dreaming of what it might be like to meet her true father, but this scenario had somehow never entered her mind.
Who... who is with thee, Darling? the Mountain King responded. 'Tis not thy son, but... a daughter?
Isala was roused to anger at Ada's interruption, causing the vessel to toss in her sleep. The Widow Queen did her best to keep calm and hide her thoughts from Vanon, but it was no use. He could see it all.
My... daughter... from the Dream? The voice was at once frightening and soothing, much like the sound of a rainstorm at night.
"The Dream is not important, Lamb," Isala pushed in. "What thou needst now is rest." And with that she began to intone a melodic series of syllables, which were completely foreign to Ada. Isala chanted with such force that their Shadow vessel actually sang the words aloud in her sleep.
Stop!!! boomed Vanon. I've had enough sleep for an eternity. I wish to awaken! Athròlu is hungry!!! Ada could feel Isala's terror rattling the vessel violently. The old witch tried to keep her incantation going, but she was silenced by the mighty will of Vanon—or perhaps, of Athròlu.
The pressure built inside Azama's head, and Ada feared it was the end of both her and her master. But just when she had resigned herself to death, the rattling stopped, and a great calm descended on her. She couldn't be certain, but it seemed as if she heard one last whisper: Rest thou awhile, Darling.
And with that, Ada found she had the vessel to herself. To be sure, Isala was still there, only sleeping. And the poor Shadow girl who actually owned the body was lying dormant somewhere down deep. But Ada was in control.
She sat up in the Queen's hammock and looked around the room. At last, she had the freedom to look wherever she chose for as long as she liked. This essential element of life, this choice, had been missing for so long that she'd almost forgotten how precious it was. Tears flowed freely from her vessel's eyes.
After a moment of silent gratitude, the precarious nature of Ada's situation sank in. Isala might return at any moment, so Ada would have to make her escape as quickly as possible. Faced with a very real threat to her own life and liberty, the beautiful thoughts that had filled her mind a moment ago now seemed frivolous abstractions. There was a time for philosophy and a time for the blind action of instinct. This was clearly the latter.
Without further hesitation, Ada threw off her quilt and ran straight for the small adjoining room that housed Isala's favorite pet: a large, gray owl she called Màlak. The habitat was currently lit to imitate the light of day, so Màlak was sleeping along with the rest of the Citadel. It was a simple matter for Ada to catch the thing in her hands and move herself into it, leaving her former vessel standing there dumbfounded as if she'd just been roused from sleepwalking.
With a flurry of wings that quite startled the poor Shadow girl, Ada took flight and exited the habitat. From there, she was able to find an open window in the royal bedroom and head out into the seemingly endless night sky of the Dome.
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Adelaide in Ozghard, Book 2: Over the Rainbow 🐇Fantasy
Adelaide has left "the Lasting Lands" and crossed back over the lightbridge to Earth, but it's not quite the Earth she remembers. Meanwhile, revolution is brewing in Ozghard, and it may fall on her and Ada to put things right before it's too late. T...