308 The Dream before Death III
Aegin felt like he was pulling himself up out of the depths of the ocean, but was having to drag an enormous weight with him. Gods above, whatever that Djinn had done made him feel like he'd just been beaten within an inch of his life. Aegin blinked his eyes open, taking in the stars far above him. Was this it? Was he awake?
He twisted to get up, and groaned at the weight of his limbs. He must be awake, movement had been seamlessly easy in the dream, and he'd felt no pain there either.
Now…now he could feel everything, most of it unpleasant.
He was on the ground next to the fire he'd been sitting at with Cara.
His eyes sought the old woman out. She lay sleeping on the ground like he'd been. She appeared unharmed though.
Aegin pushed himself to his feet, then moved to her side. As he heard her heartbeat, a burst of hunger assaulted him and he slapped a hand over his mouth.
Nope. Not the time.
His instincts practically burned to feed. Suddenly, the heaviness in his limbs and the aches made a whole lot of sense. Whatever he had done to get out of that dream the Djinn had invaded, it had cost him a lot of energy.
Still, he couldn't feed on Cara.
Swallowing back his hunger, Aegin put his arms under her and lifted her body, moving her inside her Bein. After he'd laid her on her bed, Aegin straightened and stepped back out into the night, his eyes immediately tracking towards where he'd last seen the Djinn.
Not there. Though all of the other refugees were, and they were all asleep on the ground.
Aegin frowned, if the Djinn was able to walk into all of their dreams then…he needed to find the Djinn before it discovered anything it shouldn't know.
But the only thing Aegin remembered about his appearance was that it was a boy, and that it's eyes were that eerie blue.
Aegin gritted his teeth, if the Djinn was asleep like everyone else, then it would be harder to find him. Aegin scented the air, then immediately stopped, his hunting instincts on the verge of pushing him to feed on all the defenceless humans who lay sleeping around him.
He couldn't hunt the Djinn either then. Aegin frowned, standing here wasn't going to do anything.
Aegin rapidly moved forward, moving through the Refugees and checking them one by one for any signs of the Djinn he'd seen. There must have been a few hundred of them, and it took even him several minutes to do so. As he was approaching the last of them, he spotted a familiar figure on the edge of the group.
Sevis lay on the ground beside a couple of Red-Eye Tribesman, and there, behind them, was Tigin. Aegin moved to them quickly, leaving the unchecked Refugees untouched as he came to Tigin's side and tried to shake the big guy awake.
There was no response. Aegin frowned, if trying to wake them the normal way wouldn't work then…
Aegin's gaze travelled to the vein in Tigin's wrist. He clenched his jaw as he felt his fangs extend.
"Sorry buddy, but this is going to hurt," Aegin said, "Just a sip. Just enough to wake you up".
Aegin, knowing that indecision was not something he could afford right now, lifted Tigin's wrist and plunged his fangs into the vein. He paused, pushing for pain. Pain would wake Tigin. He felt Tigin flinch as he gulped a mouthful of blood, his hunger rearing it's head to take more. Aegin pushed pain into Tigin again.
Tigin's eyes snapped open and Aegin took another mouthful before he gathered his will power and pulled away, licking the wound closed. He looked at Tigin.
"Sorry buddy, but you needed to wake up, we've got a Djinn here to find before it causes more damage," said Aegin, then, as the paralytic in Tigin's system wore off, Aegin moved to Sevis' side and did the same.
"It…It was a dream right?" asked Tigin as Sevis wakened and Aegin stood.
Aegin looked over his shoulder at Tigin's confused expression.
"Yeah," said Aegin, "But apparently the Djinn can walk into your dream and make subtle influences. If it's walking through everyone's dreams, it's only a matter of time before it finds out something it shouldn't know. Where's Rima?"
Sevis struggled to his feet, breathing hard, "I…I don't know, we've got to get to my father".
"Right," said Aegin, "Where will he be?"
Sevis and Tigin, clearly still shaking off their lethargy, started walking shakily.
"In the Meeting Hall, we have to wake them up," Sevis insisted.
"I'll get there faster," Aegin replied, "The Djinn is just a teenage boy, I saw him just before we all fell asleep. I assume that was his doing too. Keep an eye out for him".
Sevis nodded, "Go".
Aegin turned and ran towards the Meeting Hall.
"…then, all the paths that followed the Gods joined together in celebration of the balance they had created, and feasted together with the Gods they had so long been separated from," Elva stated warmly as she combed Rima's hair. The long, dark locks feeling smoother and smoother against her shoulders the more her mother combed.
"Alright, little blue sun of mine, I think it's time we head to bed," Elva insisted.
"Oh, but mother I…mother, can't you just stay a bit longer?" asked Rima. She knew this was a dream. Had realised it just as she'd realised the length of her hair. Her hair had not been so long since she was a child. Still, it was rare she dreamed about her mother as anything other than sick and dying.
"I'll be right outside, Rima. You need to go to bed, it's late," said Elva with a warm smile.
Rima sighed as she watched her mother's elegant movements as she stood. One could see the beauty there. She had been very pretty in the past. Though now she was a bit too thin from lack of food, and her hair a bit dry at the ends.
Rima sighed, "It would have been different, wouldn't it?"
Elva smiled, "What would have?"
"If you had stayed with the Blue Suns," said Rima, "You'd be healthier. And you would not have died so young".
Elva tilted her head, "But I wouldn't have had you then, would I? And you're my little blue sun. My light guiding the way even in the night".
"Then you'll guide mine, yes? Even though you're not here?" asked Rima.
"I'll always be here, Rima. Always…"
Suddenly, her mother's eyes turned from a deep warm brown to a cooling, vast blue. Rima sensed that something wasn't right immediate.
Her mother gave a small, amused smirk. Those eyes, they were like the Sand Devils.
"You…you're the Djinn!" Rima said, "What did you do to my mother?"
The Djinn said nothing as it looked to the side and into a mirror that was placed on the wall, then his gaze flicked to Rima, "You're the daughter of Elva of the Blue Sun Tribe".
Rima's eyes widened.
The Djinn chuckled, "Well, isn't this interesting, no wonder I couldn't grant my Master's first wish…though I suppose now I could give him a close second best…I truly did want what he offered".
Rima stepped back as the Djinn stepped forward, "No, no, I'm not going with you to Black Sands…I…I'll offer you more! Double!"
The Djinn chuckled, "Tempting, little girl, but only my Master can offer a price and be granted a wish in return, and you are not my Master".