What Once Was Lost:  Pieces Falling


          Usually, you’ll wake up from a nightmare when things get really bad – about the point you feel like you’re going to die, you wake up.  I felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest.  I felt like dying.
          So why was I still stuck in dreamland?
          I blinked, rubbing my face, and looked at the guy who looked like Lance – Lancor Greyland, I suddenly remembered.  His name was Lancor Greyland.  “Please, please tell me you didn’t just say what I think you said.”
          He looked sad.  “I’m sorry, Shai.  Shai!”
          I abruptly fell against the trunk of the tree next to me, hugging it and trying to master myself.  A thousand questions flew through my mind.  Why did it hurt so much to hear that Craig’Ian of Malcolm was a captive?  That he was condemned to die at sundown?  Why did I feel somehow responsible for this?
          Why did this seem more real than it ever had?
          I waved him off, swallowing hard.  “I’ll be fine, I’ll be fine.  I just...need a minute, that’s all.”
          As Lancor stared at me, he shivered.  “I knew that idea was madness.”
          I immediately turned to look at him, staring hard.  My voice was cold, almost accusing.  “What idea?”
          He just shook his head.  “It’s not important.  We have to find a way into the city, remember?”
I was willing to let his hanging statement, the one that implied that he knew more than I, drop because saving Craig’Ian was eminently more important at that point.  I nodded, and began to climb out of the ravine.  He stared at me, dumbstruck.  I paused for just long enough to look over my shoulder at him.  “Aren’t you coming?”
          He gulped, nodded, and we began to climb.

*        *          *

          On our way back to the city walls, we met up with Miral and Jude, who were hiding the bodies of some Dan’ling that had attempted to waylay them.  Both were wounded, but assured me that they were fine.  Miral kept looking at me funny as we headed for the walls.  Jude said nothing and avoided my gaze.  I was completely lost, but at the same time, focused.  I knew that Miral and Jude were certainly not my friend, Mir, and my roommate, Jude, but I knew, somehow, that these two were my friends and would not betray me for anything.  The idea that they would not betray me seemed especially important – although for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why.  Despite this, for the first time in a long time, I was beginning to know things that Shai of Clellan knew, feeling things she felt.  Slowly, it was all coming together.
          Kittyhawk met us in the shadows, not far from the guarded city gate.  She studied me critically for a minute, and I couldn’t help but think of how Alaina would give me that same critical look from time to time.  She looked toward the blue-robed Jude, then, asking, “Is she back?”
          “Getting there,” Jude answered.  I wonder what they meant by that.  Jude continued.  “You have a way in?”
          Kittyhawk smiled.  “Do I ever.  We may pull this off yet.”
          “I hope so,” I said grimly.  “We have to.”  My mind continued the statement I could not bring myself to voice.  Because if we don’t, Craig’Ian will die.


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