The tenth day of winter, the 236th year Post-Priorae.
“There’s someone else here with me. I can’t see him-her-it?-But I can hear the voice. It’s like the whisper of wind across the surface of our pond. I think I should be afraid. I shouldn’t be so lax about this. The voice tells me not to be afraid. It says it has plans; I don’t know if I should trust it. It comes to me mostly when I sleep, when my mind is at it’s most vulnerable.
I have taken ill the last several days. I cannot bring myself to leave my room, and my body won’t take food. I keep the curtains pulled. The darkness helps me to know what is my own thoughts and what is this…thing that has invaded me. But something is coming. Some burning warmth stirring in my chest, and I fear that it will continue to grow until I can’t take it anymore.”
Thyra glanced up from Doran’s journal. She could feel her chest tightening. She knew what he was talking about. The burning in her chest. It hadn’t been much more than a stirring, thoughts swirling in her mind, but with each passing day it seemed to grow. She’d thought that it was just nerves as she was anxious to cross the sea, but now, after reading his words, she wasn’t so sure. Could there really be a prophecy?
She looked back down at the journal, slamming it closed. Fear suddenly gripped her. If she was to succumb to Doran’s madness, she didn’t want to know. She rose quickly to her feet, leaving the cursed book where she found it. She needed some fresh air, and she was nearly running as she started down the winding stairs.
Thyra heard Kegan’s voice, but she didn’t stop. The need to escape was too heavy in her mind. She realized she was gasping softly for a breath.
Thyra couldn’t hear the plea in Kegan’s voice as she ran to the terrace doors, throwing them open. She drew long, ragged breaths as she stood on the terrace, trying to draw in as much of the cool air as she could. She heard Kegan’s steps behind her as he approached.
“What has gotten into you?” he demanded.
Thyra shook her head. “I can’t,” she whispered softly. She straightened her shoulders, looking out over the gardens. In the distance, the sky was being painted with evening colors. “I can’t read that journal.”
“Why?” Kegan asked. He stepped toward her. His voice softened. “What has you so frightened?”
Thyra grimaced, hugging her middle. “I see too much of myself,” she whispered.
Kegan reached out a hand to lay it on her shoulder. “Then you must continue,” he said earnestly. “You cannot know your own fate unless you know Doran’s.”
Thyra rounded on him. “What if I don’t want to know Doran’s fate?” she demanded. ” What if I want to make my own?”
Kegan frowned, stepping back from her. “If you follow your intuition, then you’re not making your own fate,” he said shortly. “If whatever this voice is continues to call and you listen, you’re walking the path you say you don’t want to.” He turned, pointing to the doors. “You have to finish.”
Thyra’s brow furrowed. She was silent for a long time, worry in her lavender eyes.
“You cannot know until you finish the journal,” Kegan urged gently. “You’re the only one who can understand Doran’s madness.”
Thyra felt her body tense, wondering if he thought she was touched by madness as well. She bit her tongue, though, keeping her thoughts to herself. After a moment, she nodded, relenting. “Fine.”
Kegan seemed pleased. He allowed her ahead of him, escorting her back to the library. Once inside, he shut the door, trailing behind her to the desk. He could see the apprehension on her face as she ran her fingers over the cover once more.
“Would you read it to me?” he asked suddenly.
Thyra looked up at him, arching a brow. “Were you not taught how to read?” she asked sardonically.
Kegan scowled at her. “I can read just fine,” he said shortly. “But maybe it will allay your fears if you read it aloud.”
Thyra paused, considering, before nodding. “Alright.”