The Tower of the Winds held her dreaming, embodied self high and apart, that the power of her vibrant spirit self might not overwhelm the scatters of humanity below. She was not a prisoner — that had been tried once, with another Dreamer, and the cracked and blasted stones of the Tower of the Waves even now thrust up jagged fingers of warning from the cliffs overlooking the sea of Tereth, in a land where nothing - not even nightmares - dwelled.
No, she was free to leave her high place and walk among the day-folk and the night, climb down the narrow steps cut deep into the rock that rooted the tower to dip her toes in the waters of her plashing sea and dance among the wavelets that chuckled on the narrow beach. She could wander in the gardens and orchards of the Tower grounds at will, the parks and public places of the town that spread along the ridge of hills that divided forest and farmland from the shore, anywhere that tradition, invitation, courtesy gave her welcome.
All that was required by the accord between the Land-gerents and the Convocation of the Wise that granted warrant to the Dreamers and their like was that she not sleep dreaming anywhere but the Tower, nor step beyond the boundary-wards that marked the edges of her lands without the proper rituals and safeguards. And most of all to never let her spirit stray so far from form that she find it difficult to return to herself.
She could speak to people, entertain guests in the lofty hall that made up most of the lower part of her tower, join in the feasts and frolics of the seasons and cycles. And there were days, months, years when she did those things, and other times when she did not.
If she wished, she could people the tower with scholars in the library and gardeners in the park, with cooks to produce a different delicacy every meal and clothiers to fashion a different garment for each day. But extravagance was not her desire; her mundane needs were modest, and fulfilled by a small and dedicated staff.
She could take a lover, did she choose, one to share the wide bed she seldom used in the richly appointed middle floor apartment. (That room - that bed - was too large and too elaborate for one alone. It wanted firelight and laughter, a company of minds. Instead she both Dreamt and slept in the plainer, higher space.) One she could show that airy upper room, the gauzy curtains, and the shining glass, the simple, single plinth down-padded, linen-draped: the Tower’s heart, the Dreamer’s bed. One with whom to speak of worlds and time and space between, the secret, sacred things the Dreaming did and Was and Worked toward. Such a one - if fit and called - might come to be a dreamer also, with tower-right as well. Then they might indeed share that upper room: dream entwined within the curtained shell of power that warded and gave grace to that domain. There were Lands with Towered pairs, even trios; and once, so legend said, a pair of pairs so close-connected each to each that their Dream-expressed love had held their land in balance long years after they passed, and flowed out to brighten lands distant and near.
As yet she had not sought a lover or even a companion from the townsfolk or the wide country around, near or far; the Dreaming and the doing, warding, waking, sleeping and sustaining were enough for her.
She was the Dreamer. Her spirit-self made love with every dream.
For indeed she had a lover in the wind that blew, the shafts of sunlight and the runnels of rain, the air and water and fire that met in the upthrust earth that was her within her tower.
When the rain came rushing down as if to drown the land, sending sheets and torrents to cascade from roof and rampart, overflow from gutter, bank and well, that too was exaltation and the meeting of desire, water to the thirsty soil. Her part was to let it fall enough, and not too much, to balance need and excess, drought and flood, in the interstice of elements, the place the Dreaming made.
In Dream, the rain caressed her, kissing breast and mouth and mound, seeking all her secret places, fluid, liquid, running in and out and all around as she Shaped it to her need, and it shaped back - so living was this world that elements had voices, could take Form and interact within the Dream. Her lover Water, element transformed: refreshment to heart, flesh and spirit all.
When the wind came flying round its namesake, whistling and roaring through the trees, ruffling the grasses, lashing waves to spray and bringing storm or sun, breathing brisk or balmy, sharp or soft, that was exhilaration, invocation of desire, clear air to needy earth. Her part was to let it blow but guard against the overflow, the stolen breath, to balance lack and surfeit, suffocation and release, where the strands all ran together, the place the Dreaming made.
In Dream the wind enfolded her, touching and tickling, teasing tendrils from her braids, breathing warm beneath her breasts, between her legs, whispers in her ears, a susurration sharp and sweet as she Shaped it to her will and it sang back, clever and curious within the Dream. Her lover Air, element emerged in form: knowing mind to mind, flesh and spirit all.
When the sun burned sere and close or pale and far, scorching crops, racing through short day or dawdling through long, that was exuberance and the igniting of desire, flame to waiting clay. Her part to ward the land from its caprice, to know the fire in the lightning, the spark that burned beneath the snow in sleeping seeds, to balance frost and furnace, light and dark, crucible and cradle at the crossroads where the forces met, the place the Dreaming made.
In Dream the sunlight bathed her, laving her with warmth, sending sparks and flares and fireworks throughout her body, blossoming against her skin, fizzing in her bones, heat flowering in her belly, until she was as molten as gold, flickering in concert with the hearth-fire, all interlaced and woven through with light, as she Shaped and was shaped, meeting and making fierce and fine within the Dream. Her lover Fire, element expressed in form: passion to desire, flesh and spirit all.
…And so it came to pass, one day, three people came to knock upon the Tower door, though none knew whence they came: one ruddy, curved and quick, with red-gold hair and amber eyes and a smile like the sun; one cool and dark, with languid, liquid grace and blue-black hair, eyes like starry pools; and one (the first, wind-born, to breathe the Tower air, set foot to stone, wait patient for the others) pale and tall, keen-edged, with piercing eyes and [silver/grey-gold] hair and a voice both soft and strong. She (sturdy, warm and supple, with red-brown braids and laughing hazel eyes, so legend says) opened both door and arms to them in welcome. They all went in, and once again the land rejoiced in Dream made manifest, love that overflowed fourfold.