Baby Bean is Growing

 BabyFruit Ticker

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Aidan woke with a start. Cold rivulets of sweat poured down his furrowed brow as he threw himself into a sitting position, staring around him at the darkness and gasping for breath. He clutched at his chest and felt his pounding heart beating itself against his breastbone as he waited for the wave of adrenaline to subside. Swallowing cold gulps of air like a life giving tonic, he tried to recall the particulars of the dream that had ravaged his sleep.

She had been there. He knew that much was true. Her strangely beautiful blue and white eyes seemed to stare at him through the darkness of his room like an afterimage burned on his retinas. They had been together, happy. Then something, someone, had come and tried to tear them apart. The rest was a blur. Blood. Fire. Water. War and destruction. All he could clearly remember was the sound of her screams.

Throwing off his blankets he got up from his pallet on the floor and began pacing the room. The chill of night and the coming winter had begun to seep through the rock, and his chamber was cold, but he did not stop to put on any clothes. Instead, he paced back and forth crossing the length of the room again and again. He felt as though he'd just run a race, rather than slept, and his restless energy plagued him. After a few moments of this, he realized that more restlessness would not calm his mind. Taking a deep breath, he retrieved his clothes and dressed quickly. Snatching his sword from its place near his bed, he left his quarters.

As he rounded the corner leaving the royal apartments, the two sentries bowed reverently to him. One of them moved as if to follow, but Aidan dismissed the man with a wave. If they thought it odd that their young prince desired a midnight stroll, their impassive faces showed no trace of it. They remained resolutely at their posts.

Aidan made his way up staircase after staircase from his home at the center of his city towards the upper levels and the outside world. At last, he reached a winding staircase barely wide enough for a grown man to pass through that spiraled its way up steeply towards the ceiling. All the entrances and exits to his domain had been constructed this way to prevent invaders from being able to bring an army into the city. Aidan reached a landing at the top and paused for a moment, contemplating the simple ladder and the heavy stone door directly above him. A torch in a bracket on the wall flickered in the slight draft from the cracks around the door where fresh air filtered in from the cold night above. Aidan climbed the few rungs of the ladder and threw his weight against the heavy door.

A sudden gust of cold air hit him and he gasped. The torch below flickered madly, but did not go out. The blackness of the night above seemed to pour into the chamber as Aidan climbed the last few steps and found himself standing on the top of a huge stone mesa. Carefully, he let the heavy door fall behind him.

"Who approaches?" a husky male voice called threateningly.

Only the most honorable and able sons of the Elders of the tribe were chosen for the most important job of watching from the outside, thus Aidan recognized the voice as that of a childhood friend. "Stand down Elei," Aidan replied quietly, as his eyes adjusted to the blackness.

He stared up into the vast carpet of stars that was laid out above him and marveled at it, as he did every time he had seen it. Hearing movement, he squinted into the darkness and found he could make out a form approaching him. The man stopped suddenly and bowed.

"My Honorable Lord," he said, "I was not told you would be visiting the watch this night."

"This is not an official visit, Elei. I merely wanted to clear my head." The man nodded and the two of them made their way towards the very edge of the cliff. As Aidan's eyes adjusted, he could begin to make out features of the landscape below: the rocky desert wasteland that was his kingdom. He crouched near the edge and stared out across his inky black surroundings. Elei stood respectfully a few feet away.

"Are you well, my lord?" Elei ventured after a few minutes of silence. Aidan sighed.

"You would be the one on duty tonight," he said sarcastically. "You always ask too many questions, Elei." Elei bowed contritely.

"I'm afraid it is in my blood. My honorable mother is also known at court for always asking too many questions." Elei's mother was one of the most venerable and admired Elders of the tribe. She had taken over her late husband's position when Elei was still very small, and had helped Aidan's father rule wisely these many years. "But if you don't wish to speak of it..." Aidan shook his head.

"My spirit must be very troubled, Elei. I have had such dreams lately as you would not believe." He paused, rubbing his eyes as if trying to rub away the troubling images. "Visions of war and destruction; of blood and death. And also..." He paused. Elei was one of his oldest friends, but Aidan was unsure how he would react to the mysterious girl of his dreams.

"Also?" Elei prompted.

"And also of... a girl."

"A girl?" Elei repeated. "A lady of the courts perhaps?" Aidan stood abruptly and looked at his friend, searching his face for any sign of humor or mockery. He saw none, only concern for a troubled friend. He turned back to contemplating the darkness.

"Not of the court, not even of our people. A very strange girl, with pale skin the color of cream, and big white eyes with irises as blue as the sky." He looked at his friend again. "I have seen her in my dreams many many times." Elei frowned.

"That is strange. I have never heard of a person with white eyes. Is she an albino perhaps?" Aidan shook his head.

"She troubles me," he said darkly. Elei considered for a while and the two stood in silence. A paleness was beginning to wash over the distant horizon as the first fingers of dawn crept up into the sky.

"Perhaps you should go to the temple and have your spirit cleansed," Elei suggested. "Ask the priests for help ridding your mind of these troubling dreams." Aidan shook his head. He had already thought of visiting the temple for help, and although the dreams did trouble him, the thought of never seeing the girl again troubled him more.

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