What Once Was Lost:  A Name to my Face


          I picked up a goblet from the table, not even seeing the red wine in it before I took a long pull.  My throat was sore from talking to the council that had gathered around Craig’Ian of Malcolm, the man who looked exactly like my best friend from what I had begun to think of my real world and my real time.  This was all just a dream…
          …wasn’t it?  Not that it mattered.  For the moment, I was here, and I had something to do.  Craig’Ian put his arms around my waist as I set down the goblet.  “You really think fighting them will work, Shai?”
          I shrugged.  “I didn’t just argue passionately for it for the past two hours because I thought it was a bad idea, Craig.”
          He smiled.  “You’re the only one who would ever dare to address me in such a familiar manner.”
          “Do you have a problem with it?”
          He laughed.  “Why would I?  A beautiful woman like you, addressing me by a nickname?  Of course I wouldn’t take offense.”
          “You’re a strange man, Craig’Ian, a very strange man indeed.”
          “And you, Shai of Clellan, are quite possibly the most unusual woman in the world.”
          I smirked at him over my shoulder.  “You have no idea.”
          I closed my eyes as his arms tightened around my waist, but when I opened them again, he, and everything else, was gone.  I was laying in bed, staring at Jude’s bed, in exactly the same position I’d been before I found myself in the throes of one of my dreams.
          “Shai of Clellan,” I murmured.  So that’s who I was in the dreams.  Shai of Clellan, obviously someone close to Craig’Ian of Malcolm, who appeared to be some sort of feudal lord, if I was any judge.  A feudal lord who a force known as the Dan’ling wanted dead.  I wondered what it all meant.  I kept coming back to the conclusion that it must be my imagination painting images from my life onto my subconscious.
          I stared at Jude’s bed for a long moment before I realized she was already up and gone.  I sighed and began to haul myself out of bed – I really didn’t want to, because my bed was warm and the room was not – a result of leaving the windows open all night, which Jude did on occasion.  I began to pull on my clothes, glancing at the time – I had about a half hour before I had to head to class.
          There was a sudden rapping on my door and I groaned, yanking my shirt the rest of the way on and opening the door.  Craig was standing there with another of our friends, Lance Greilan, who was a physics student.  Craig immediately blushed.  “Sorry, Shai, didn’t realize you’d just gotten up.  Lance and I were going to go get some breakfast, and we were wondering…”
          “If I’d like to come?  Five minutes, OK?  Wait there.”  I shut the door on them and finished getting ready in three minutes flat, tossed my books in my bag, and grabbed my wallet and keys.  I flipped off the lights in the room and walked out, grinning at them.  “Shall we, gentlemen?”
          Comically, Craig offered me his arm and I took it, feeling for a moment that this was the way it was supposed to be – none of that holding hands junk, but this, with a lady’s hand on a lord’s arm…
          …and then, I began to question my sanity.


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