Chapter 13, Part 2 (End of Chapter 13)

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Mara gasped as she awakened to the sound of a baby's cries, her linens rustling beneath her.

"Is everything all right?" Nina asked.

"Yes. Why do you ask?"

"You jumped like you were startled."

"It's nothing." What an odd dream! She laid back, placing one hand beneath the pillow. There, she felt something unexpectedly. She grasped the object, then bolted upright. "Great Ehyeh!"

"What? What is it?"

Mara lit the lamp at her side. She waited for her eyes to adjust to the light, then stared at the item she held, her mouth gaping open.

"What is it? Are you all right?"

The Oathtaker reached toward Nina, a flint in her hand. "Have you seen this before?"

Nina took the item. She turned it over a couple of times. "No."

"It's Dixon's flint."

"So?"

Mara stared at it. "This is very odd, but I just dreamed of him."

Nina grinned. "Nice dream, huh?"

Mara felt herself blush. "No, that's not what I meant. I meant I was just in his room."

"Oh, it gets better. I've seen how you look at him."

"Stop it," Mara said, grinning good-naturedly. She sat at the edge of her bed. Nina's comments set her thinking. Was she attracted to Dixon? Was there something there? No, of course not. And Dixon loved Rowena. Besides, I've taken an oath. End of subject.

"So what's the problem?"

Mara went to the window and looked out.

"What's going on?" Nina prodded.

"I think I've just discovered another attendant power."

"Go on."

"It seems I can go elsewhere in my dreams. Not just in my mind, but . . . physically."

"I don't understand."

"That flint there? It's Dixon's. In my 'dream' I was with him, having a conversation that was every bit as real as the one I'm having with you now."

The Oathtaker returned to her bed and sat. She took the flint from Nina. "I took this as I was leaving there and awakening here."

"You really believe that?"

"Remember the colors?"

"Of course."

"And I was right, wasn't I? This is just more attendant magic, though I'm not sure what it's for or how to use it." She shook her head. "You know, in some ways these powers are frightening."

"Why is that?"

"Because . . . Well, take these dreams for instance. When I was with Dixon it was so real. That was when I realized this 'dream journey' wasn't the first time I'd gone elsewhere in my sleep." She told Nina about her dream of the falls and of Dixon's conversation with Basha.

Nina listened intently as she finished nursing Reigna, then handed the infant to Mara. "It seems you need to learn more about these powers. How do you think you can do that?"

"Therese said I should test them. Maybe that's what I was unconsciously doing when I took Dixon's flint. But you're right. I need to know more. Perhaps we might head to the City of Light. There are libraries full of information there."

The crisp bedding rustled beneath Nina as she laid her head down and put her arm around Eden. "Well, whatever you decide to do, I think you'd be wise to get some rest now."

"You're right. I'm sorry I awakened you."

"No, you didn't. Reigna did."

"Yes, that's right. Her cry brought me back." Mara cuddled the infant. She looked back at Nina. "Aren't you going to feed Eden now?"

The young woman groaned. "Not until she asks to be fed."

"Oh. Why wouldn't you feed them both at the same time?"

Nina pulled herself up on one elbow and opened her drowsy eyes. "Because she's not hungry. When she's hungry, she'll awaken. I'm not going to create a schedule that doesn't fit her." She put her head back down. "With any kind of luck, she'll start sleeping through the night soon." She snuggled nearer to Eden. Within moments, she was breathing steadily.

"Sleep well, Nina," Mara whispered. Then she got back into bed, snuggled Reigna, and turned out the light.


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