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Sometimes she would dream. Those weren't normal dreams everyone had nor were they the prophetic kind she got occasionally nowadays.

No, these had started way before those had, she had been just a child when she'd had her first dream of this kind. Telling her parents had not accounted to much, an active imagination had been the explanation why their daughter dreamed of another world with alarming detail and frequency.

These were vivid, Technicolor dreams where she sensed everything and forgot there was anything else outside the dream she was having, for a night she was part of that world.

In her dreams there were brave and broken men, attempting to do the right thing when separating right from wrong seemed impossible; men lost in themselves. Men uprooted from their homes, without a place their hearts could call home yet yearning for one.

She dreamed of endless green fields, and forests so deep and dark that you could easily get lost in them without taking a single step.

***

Most of all, she dreamed of him. A loyal man with shattered beliefs. A man who joked to hide the pain gnawing away his soul, and the absence in the place of hope.

So cynical and hardened by life that it made her want to cry for him, a man who certainly wouldn't want someone to shed tears for him. Certainly would not want sympathy from a virtual stranger, something he would take for pity.

In her dreams she couldn't but stand and watch – forever watching from the sidelines. She was there for all of it, a ghost by his side. She was there as he fought, loved, and drank his way through life.

He was a passionate being. She couldn't help but admire how fiercely and skillfully he fought; twin swords dancing as he made his way through his enemies.

Often he was victorious, but there were times when he didn't walk off unscathed.

Whenever his friends couldn't watch his back she would always try to warn him of enemy steel behind his back, but no matter how hard she tried he didn't see her; couldn't hear her warnings.

Once, after one of the unheard warnings in battle, when he was lying on a bed with his side sliced open delirious with fever, she thought he could see her there, standing vigil by his bedside.

He had looked at her way, even lifted his hand like he was trying to reach her hand. He had opened his mouth to say something, but then the healer had come in giving him something that had made him sink into a deep slumber as the man sew his wounds shut and wrapped them in thick bandages.

When awake, she would wonder who he was, where he was. Often she daydreamed of what would happen if they met, but just as often the real life crashed in and broke her reverie.

Chapter Text

When he had been younger, he had often dreamed of home; the grass-filled fields of Sarmatia. Later those dreams had slowly diminished.

Now however, after all the years in between, in his fever-ridden mind he was back there, surrounded by a weaving ocean of green. In slow motion he turned around, taking in his surroundings. The grass field spanned almost as far as his eyes could see. In places, hills obscured his view and on occasion he could see the beginning of a forest far out.

He had almost made a full circle when he saw her.

She was standing there, a figure dressed in a thin white dress. There was something familiar about it all. He had the sense he knew her, that her ethereal figure, with the white dress and all was not new to him.

She was watching him quietly as the wind picked up the hem of her dress and flew her long and wavy mass of golden hair around. When their eyes connected, her lips curled into a soft smile that spoke of fondness and familiarity.

"Hello there," she greeted him with a light nod of her head.

"Hello. I- Who are you?" he scrunched up his forehead as he tried to place her. "I know you, don’t I? I have seen you before- in these dreams."

"You have," she confirmed, not elaborating how or why she appeared in his dreams. "Don't worry; I'm a friend," she smiled, as if something about what she had said amused her.

"And whose friend, are you?" he asked, tilting his head. A smirk was playing on his lips, the playfulness prompted by the twinkling in her eyes.

"Yours, of course. Have been for a long time now," she said with seriousness that took away his amusement.

After that exchange, silence took over as they just stood there, just studying each other. She didn’t elaborate her statement and for some unknown reason he didn't feel need to question what she meant by it.

His thoughts started to drift and he found himself thinking about his impending freedom. He wondered if his family would still be there waiting for him when he finally made his way back home to Sarmatia. Even if they were, it wouldn't be easy to go there and try to reconnect with them. It had been so long ago when he had been forced to leave his home for this cold and unwelcoming land far away, way beyond the realm of a little boy's comprehension. He had changed and he had no doubt they had as well.

"You know, there's a war coming," her voice broke his chain of thought.

"Coming? We're already fighting a war!" his voice rose with the sudden anger that seemed to come out of nowhere as if they’d been in the middle of an argument instead of the beginning of one. He became angry at this woman: who was she to belittle the fight he and his brothers in arms fought on nearly daily basis, risking their lives time and time again. And she did it with only a single sentence. A war was coming, indeed.

Her expression wasn't changed by his abrupt outburst. "There's a difference between battles and war," she reminded him calmly.

"You have to get ready," her voice took a faraway note. "The eagle won't help or protect you when the bear comes advancing," as soon as it came it was gone again and her voice sounded normal once more.

 He was still trying to get his bearings when suddenly she grimaced. "I hate receiving this cryptic crap and spouting it to someone else isn't that much of an improvement," she grumbled – mostly to herself, or so he assumed. "Anyway, it'll be up to Snow White and the seven dwarves to save the kingdom."

He was confused, she was not making any sense, "Who is this Snow White you’re speaking of? And seven dwarves...?"

"She is the pretty girl who'll be the queen one day," she smiled, making the corners of her eyes crinkle. “And the seven dwarves, well… You'll understand it all when the time is right," she promised. "I'm afraid that's all I can tell you right now."

His brows furrowed and his mind whirled as he attempted to make sense of her obscure warnings. He was quite confident he got the eagle part right, it had to refer to Rome. But that didn't make sense. Why wouldn't the imperium defend its conquests? He was trying to figure out who was the bear she mentioned, when he noticed her tilt of head. She looked like she was listening to something he couldn't hear; Tristan did that more than enough for him to recognize it for what it was.

"My time here is running out, I have to go," she told him once she was done listening to whatever, or perhaps he should say who ever, it was that only she could hear.

"Who are you?" he repeated his earlier question.

"Someone who has been through plenty of battles and wars,” she gave him a sad half-smile. “I know it's hard and you will lose people close to you, but with your friends you can survive," she told him resolutely.

He was surprised when she reached to hug him and press a kiss on his cheek, "Just be careful, okay?"

He couldn't but nod as she released her hands from where they had been resting on his chest and arm. Immediately, once the contact was gone she started to fade away from his sight. He saw her lips move, but her voice came a beat later. She was already gone when her words reached his ears.

It sounded like it was coming from far away when her last promise echoed around in the dreamscape, "Don't worry, we'll meet again. Good luck…"

 

Chapter Text

When he opened his eyes, he was standing in the middle of a large room unlike anything he had ever seen in the real world. Soft light from candles all around illuminated it, casting shadows here and there. He looked around the room with wide-eyed wonder. There were small round tables near one of the walls with two chairs at each of them. On the tables were candles and various flowers in long vases.

When he looked up, he saw the room had an unbelievably high ceiling. Heavy-looking drapes were framing the equally high windows that lined one side of the room.

The windows lured him closer and as he went to take a look, he could see it was night time outside. He saw a garden through the glass, bathing in faint moonlight. Turning away, his own reflection caught his attention when he saw it from the corner of his eye. He turned to look back at it. He was dressed in very odd clothes. He wondered how he hadn’t noticed wearing them.

He was inspecting the black jacket he found himself dressed in, when a clicking sound drew his attention away from it. He turned around, towards the sound, only to see a very familiar figure walking his way. He supposed he should have expected to see her. She was getting more and more frequent visitor in his dreams.

She was wearing a long blue dress that reflected the light of the candles dimly, and it were the shoes that added almost a hand to her height that were making the clicking sound. He didn’t remember ever seeing a woman as beautiful as she was.

She was still walking to him when music started to play. A gentle tune enveloped the entire room, coming from no apparent source. She reached him and looking to his eyes smiled to him. He duplicated the expression back at her.

Without any words she extended her hand to him. He answered by taking her hand in his own. Without a conscious thought to do so, he noticed himself leading her to dance. It was like he was fulfilling someone else’s will.

He pulled her close to him, placing his free hand on his waist. He could feel the warmth of her skin through the silk of the dress.

His sense of time was dulled, he had no idea how long they swayed there. Sometimes the music changed, but otherwise he had no knowledge of the passing of time.

The music paused for a minute and they stopped with it. He looked her in the eyes. She had green eyes. He didn’t think he’d ever before paid any attention to their colour. His eyes lowered to her lips, they looked so enticing. He glanced back to her eyes, they both leaned closer, his arms on her waist, pulling her closer, and hers making their way behind his neck.

Their lips were a breath from touching when he was yanked from his dream. He woke up in a bed next to another woman, someone he barely knew – someone he didn’t even wish to know beyond the night they had spent together. His foul mood lasted almost the whole day. His fellow knights were getting used to his mood swings that came seemingly out of nowhere, and while there were only a few remarks about it, they noticed.