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Predictive

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At first, it’s merely a sense of déjà vu.  Sky blue eyes and a gentle kiss on the back of her hand.  The exasperated scoff, the smack of a bare hand on leather armor, the glint of a smile as the adventurer turns the corner from the square, and the whorl of her skirt as she laughs into the fountain.

The dancer is no stranger to flirtation, after all.

They’re going to rescue the princess.

It’s no secret.  Adventurers do what adventurers will do.  But her reflection flickers with the ripples on the water.

They’re going to rescue the princess.

This is somehow different.

They are going to rescue the princess.

 

The spell passes, and Arylon passes it off as well wishing.  So many have gone north, so few have yet returned, and most not at all.

~*~

It is only when they invariably return – victorious at that – that the doors crack open.  Audibly, in the middle of the night, no less, startling her from her bed.  The memories that follow are nothing but a trickle at first, superimposed upon her daily life.  A moment’s warning before stubbing her toe.  An echo in a conversation.  Nothing changes, not at first.

It is not until later that she remembers that her father once wanted to sell her to a witch or a scholar’s tower, for predicting the crops and the weather, while the white mage who tends the garden of the Temple of Twelve Moons only shrugs and tells her to see a sage... or the Council of Magi.

~*~

And then the deluge.

Somehow, the would-be warriors of prophecy were at the center of it all.  The eye of the storm was fixed on them, and in that calm, everything is clear.  She knows where they are going, because they have gone before and before and before and before....

At first she is drawn to their conversation because she overhears the red mage speaking, but the red mage hasn’t spoken yet, and when she repeats what she heard, the four of them stare at her as one.  As though she has two heads.  She excuses herself forthwith, but even as they argue amongst themselves, they will return to her again.

go east, go south, go west, go north.

One, and it would be the one that kissed her hand once, who doesn’t remember how many times, who doubts, asks her how she knows.  And the frustrating part is that she doesn’t, she doesn’t know anything but what she sees, and what she sees is the world rushing towards the brink, she sees time twisted in a maelstrom that comes around and around and around, yet is ever falling deeper into the center to drain into a vast, dark nothing.

An end that not even she can see.

When they’ve gone, east and south and west and north and into the vortex itself, she dances until collapse, night after day, day after night, until her muscles ache and she falls into bed exhausted and breathless, if she makes it to bed.

Until the end of the world, Arylon the dancer, dances to forget.