Part 55 of Quest
& Part 9 of Istan’s Solo Quest: Chasing the Cross
(Previously in Quest —
In Hierophant’s Quest 4, a demigod from the Dreamer’s Court kidnapped Istan’s consciousness and asked him to track down the Nightmares. In Hierophant’s Quest 5 the Nightmares hijacked Istan’s body and started feeding off his companions.)
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Pools’ reflections roiled
anger twisted in his gut
a child’s betrayal.
Istan turned his back on the dreaming pool. There was one dimension of this problem that the godling hadn’t yet addressed. Either the kid hadn’t seen it or it was all part of a neat little trap to ensure cooperation from a rival and almost non-existent court. Either way it made his blood boil.
“Let me get this straight. The Nightmares are running around loose. So you hijack my consciousness for a conversation and leave them a powerful body to steal. Thus forcing me to go along with your crazy plan just so I can reclaim my body. Have I got that right?” Istan turned to face the kid.
shock widened blue-on-blue eyes
where naivete stood
The kid back pedaled, his thin hand rising to cover his mouth as his eyes bulged. No doubt he’d made the connection.
Damn. Manipulation would have been better. Then he could have cold cocked the kid for that insult. But no, his luck, which had soured when Irene had left him a century or two ago, had continued its backwards slid into debacle territory again. Looks like he had mental battle of epic proportions to look forward to when he returned to his body. No way would he share those cramped confines with a dozen horse-shifting nightmare women.
The kid’s lips flapped for a few minutes but no words emerged. Great he was as young as he looked and probably twice as inexperienced. Age was hard to gauge with the god-born. Istan himself looked maybe thirty in his current frazzled state.
“Just send me back, it’s not like I haven’t fought off interlopers in my head before.” Istan rubbed eyes that weren’t real. Dreamselves, consciousness–whatever one classified his current untethered state–didn’t have such organs to rub when out of body.
The kid nodded, squaring his shoulders. This task he could handle. Those blue eyes glowed as the kid worked through some kind of sequence; all of it happened in a part of the magical spectrum invisible to Istan, who waited with arms crossed. The kid closed his eyes and then opened them and started when he saw Istan.
“You–you should have gone back…” The kid leaned against a column and shook his head. Fear stood out in the kid’s eyes now, edged with panic that infused his next whispered words. “Why didn’t you go back?”
“Can you send me somewhere else?”
The Kid shook his head. “I have to send you back to your body. No other way. I’ll try again–I’ll try harder this time.” Closing his eyes, the kid fisted his hands at his side, the knuckles showing white with the strain.
Istan bit back the words that had gathered in his throat. If the kid failed a second time, then he’d suggest the boy roust out his mom, bitchy aunt Daesira. No telling what boon she’d demand for her help. Maybe he’d wait until the kid had tried a couple more times before suggesting that.
~ ~ ~
Night winds swept grassland
plains that ran thousands of miles
under the moon’s glow.
The moon’s eye gazed down silver and benevolent on that wide green swath below that stretched across the middle of the One Continent. Its Watcher watched events further south with worried eyes. Eyes that did not see two blue-on-blue eyes manifest in the dark and woman appear on the plain.
She was Daenara, the demigoddess that an Undeem plaything had captured and forced to coerce the Nightmares into releasing the residents of Bayasheru into peaceful dreams (Undreal in Nightmares’ Quest 2). Anger at the thought of owning such a creature a debt made her hands clench into fists and her long blue nails bite into her palms. No way would she ever honor such a debt or even admit to its existence. It was too insulting.
Yet here she stood bare foot, cloaked by night’s veils far from her mother’s territory. Not that she cared whose lands she trespassed on–that was a trivial detail. No real reason to be here unless she intended to involve herself further in the whole Nightmares’ debacle.
Power familiar to her gathered just steps away as it tried to reconnect a dreaming mind with his body. Too bad that body now hosted a ten nightmares who couldn’t pilot its long, lean frame all that well. Two others fed, leech-like, on the fear generated by the feral dreams they forced on two sleeping men who writhed on the ground. Their riders were invisible to all eyes save hers since the psychic vampires belonged to her court.
She could get involved. She could connect the mind with its body and then walk away, let nature takes its course. He’d either oust them or die in the attempt. She could tear those Nightmares away from their victims too. It’d be child’s play since her power trumped theirs. Get involved or walk away? Which would it be?
Daenara smiled as she saw the gleam of the god-born in the aura of the pale man stumbling around a dying fire. He’d owe her a boon for this and that was one debt worth collecting. Flexing her will, she seized the spell her inept little brother kept flinging at that body and connected the dots for him. After all, that’s what big sisters did–they helped the the little twerps their shared mother whelped. A cold smile cleaved her face.
Her hands fused magic
forged a connection between
mind and its body.
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Istan’s Quest continues in Quest to Mind’s Spires.
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