I know that I am dreaming. I am in the Hearthstone Independent. If I could open my eyes I would see fleeces and feather pillows and feather beds and the edges of Yeola-e style bed boxes. I would see the glowing, warm walls, the stones built thick with hot water running through.
The glass windows instead of scraped parchment, scraped vellum to let a watery, transluscent light through the openings in the walls that let the cold in.
I am buried in the feather beds and the pillows and the fleeces. I am dreaming of things like myself naked in the midst of the Yeola-e Assembly. Or running over the mountainside trying to find Sukala. Or trapped in a Yeola-e mountain cave trying to dig my way out with my bare hands… or use my holy book to dig out the dirt entombing me under the earth.
I smell roses. I turn away from them and fill my nose with the smell of sheep. The smell of the oil in the sheepskin, the smell of the fat. The smell of the living animal.
My eyes open. I saw roses in the atrium. The glass enclosed space that had jasmine and roses of all kinds… Mahid roses. Gold roses. Sun Roses. Blood roses. Selinae’s roses.
I lie under Selinae’s roses, my skates on my feet in the Marble Palace looking at the moon rising and I feel my betrothed’s arm around me.
I whine… I should not.
I should be a strong man. I should be invincible before my beloved… an old dream of Kyriala in my arms… and no Kallen to ruin it. Her hair and her neck and her skin and her hands…
Oh Ten. Her hands.
I kiss and kiss and suckle her hands. I kiss the tender skin at her inner wrist. I hear moans and I moan. I am dreaming. I am allowed to dream and taste the scent of roses on my tongue. I kiss and I dream.
I want Kyriala.
I want… love.
If it is Gan or Farasha or Ky… How dare I? Muunas do I dare? Mother Selinae?
Do I dare? I smell roses. I feel warm and loving skin under my bare hands. My hands stroke and touch and it is as if I can taste with the ends of my fingers and find there are glorious slick and hot and wet feelings on the tips of my fingers.
I hear Kyriala’s ecstatic moans and I am inspired… oh please. Oh please Muunas let my beloved be happy…
Roses. I am buried in roses. Mahid roses. Selinae’s yellow roses. I open my mouth and am filled with the sustenance of the goddess. I feel how hard I am and I can hear, in my dream, Surya’s voice… “Accept. Take it in. Enjoy. You are allowed. To heal you must allow all the sensations to pour through you, into you.”
I cry to the Ten and am enveloped in hair and hands and flames. They are all there and I cannot, must not stop my body’s reaction. I would diminish Them if I did.
I wake with the pallid mountain light pouring in my wide open windows. My room smells of sex and roses and I struggle out of the tangled mess of my bedding in the Hearthstone Independent.
Something makes me stop and I raise a pillow to my nose. There really is the scent of roses in my bedding. I collapse backwards into the bedbox, arms spread.
I could have sworn that it was fanilas in my sleeping place. But the fading warmth of the pillow and the deep, rich scent of Selinae’s roses driven deep into the pillow’s fibres… makes me wonder. Was someone else there last night?
Was someone in the bed with me? I cannot tell.
My damp and awful nightshirt is somehow not so awful. I lie, awake, thinking of Kyriala’s eyes for some odd reason.