Dreamland by Olivia B. Pritzker

Dreamland-75x99-2Vote at the end of this episode!

In the previous episode, Celia and Felix meet a man who sees the future. Readers voted that he warns them of a danger they will encounter and a sacrifice they will have to make.

Episode 14

Celia looked back over the hills at the now barely-visible town. Mist swirled above the valley, and she was barely able to make out the tops of the houses below. She pulled the hooded wool coat Orion had presented to her as a parting gift tightly around her body. The coarse fabric felt heavy on top of her light silk gown, which she still wore though it was almost completely blackened with dirt. She carried with her a small pack of food from Orion’s wife – salted goat meat and freshly baked bread still emitting faint warmth. Turning back toward the expanse ahead, Celia put the hood of her coat up and continued alone down the long mountain path still ahead.

“We will meet again, Celia.” Felix’s voice echoed in her head yet again, as it had been ever since she left the village. With each step of her worn leather shoe, each jagged rock she passed, she heard Felix’s voice. She wondered, yet again, what exactly the old prophet had said to him to make him stay. She didn’t regret leaving Felix – she knew they would see each other again, and knew he had to follow his own destiny – but felt a keen lack of companionship that she hadn’t felt before. It was as if Felix had opened up a part of her that she hadn’t known existed, and now she could feel the hole widening with every step.

The old man’s gnarled features had twisted into what could almost be called a smile at Felix’s impertinent question. With a flutter of one hand, he called another, younger man into the room and conferred with him quietly for a moment, the younger man leaning down over the wise old prophet, a strong new branch arched over an ancient stump. After a moment the man walked over to Celia and led her out of the room, showing her to a smaller area of the house. Celia had been standing by the window, looking out at the mountains when the man came back half an hour later and took her back up to where Felix and the old man were waiting.

“I will leave you two alone now,” the old man said simply, and with surprising agility sprang up from his pillow and exited the room. Celia tried to catch his eye as he left, but his eyes were focused straight ahead and did not meet her searching gaze. By now the remnants of her tea were nothing but cold dregs, and she swirled them around and around the cup as she listened to Felix.

He told her the prophet had warned him of a danger – he would not say what – but it could be avoided, he said, if the two travelers parted ways. A necessary sacrifice, he continued, not only to avoid danger but to stay on the course of their destinies. Felix would stay in the village for a time, then return to his kingdom and take up his rightful place as King.

And she, Celia? Felix looked at her earnestly, his warm brown eyes seeking hers. She would continue on. This was very important, he said, but this was not the end for them. They would meet again. Felix took the heavy ornate compass from around his neck and handed it to Celia. “A gift to remember you by?” she asked somewhat wryly. “No,” he responded with a smile, “it would come in handy.” She would see. And it was a loan, not a gift – they would meet again.

They would meet again. Celia could feel the compass’s weight comfortingly around her neck as she walked on through the cool mist. Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.

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