To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

To sleep, perchance to Dream; Aye, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes Calamity of so long life:

Hamlet’s soliloquy has been much on my mind of late. I sleep too much these days; great gaps of time in which I have no sense or sensibility, no awareness of the passage of time in this strange land. Perhaps the boost that Isabella gave me is waning, for I find my appetite for food has diminished and yet I have no appetite for the blood I once used to crave. I am constantly tired, for those few hours that I am awake, and in my sleep, I dream. The dreams fleeting and unsatisfactory; dreams of some other life in which I have no memory of Jasper Cove or this land, dreams that somehow echo the world that Gwyn knew, but the images are brief and uncertain, with glimpses of Brigitte and Justine, and the recall of details evades me. At least, for now, the dreams do not include his Unseelie Majesty.

Worse still is the fear, the fear of the unknown. I do not know what will become of me when this fae energy runs out. Will I go back to being a vampire again, or has that been ‘cured’ and my fate is to be mortal again, or worse still, mortal and at the end of my life. I do not know the answer, and I am not even sure I want to know; for fear that the answer will be one that I do not like. This current state is not a natural one for me, yet I fear it ending. That part of me that would run from problems, would stick my head in the sand, says I should put off the resolution, and ask Isabella if she can give me some more, and keep so doing, so I never have to know the answer to that question. But even then, I would be tied to this land, or wherever Isabella might be. I find myself thinking of my beloved Catt, and wondering if I could undergo the same process that she underwent with Katarina and Artur, to become fae. Then, nobody could deny me access to the sithen, or object to my romancing Gwyn.  Could I take that step?  Could I make that step into the unknown?  I don’t know, I really don’t know.

I had somewhat of a discussion about this earlier tonight, with Aoibheann. In a few waking hours, I drifted, lacking any other motivation, to the tavern; where I found myself with little appetite, save for a large glass of rum. Aoibheann turned up shortly thereafter, which eased some of my fears, for on previous waking occasions, I had almost felt myself back in Jasper Cove, with the island seeming empty of inhabitants. We enquired after each other’s health, and I am afraid I somewhat unloaded on her, the fears I mentioned above. Given her inexperience of life, and the fact that, to her, my 40  odd years is a long lifetime, she was perhaps not the best confidant, but she was all I had. She did ask one pertinent question though, a question she always hates when it is asked of her, what did I want to be?  To that, I had no answer. Revert to being a vampire, revert to being a mortal human, become fae, or continue this strange masquerade with borrowed energy? I had no answer for her, and I still have none now, as I write my diary.

While we were sitting there, my maudlin state of mind was much cheered by the arrival of Gwyn, trying to creep up on us and saying ‘Boo!’  I was as pleased to see her as she was to see me, though she showed no signs of worry, so perhaps she has been too busy in the sithen to notice my relative absence. We barely had time for greetings before Maric came in; leading a dark-haired young lady he had apparently found wandering the village. He was pleased to see so many people in the tavern and greeted us all with a welcome and the offer of drinks on the house, plus some food for the stranger, whose name we later learned, was Kita, and who was apparently a stranger to this land. He also invited Aerodine, who I had not noticed at first, to come in, not realising, of course, that she would not step on the wooden floor. Aoibheann got in before I did to explain this to him.  Her appearance sparked something in Gwyn, and she dragged me over to the entrance so that she could speak with Aerodine, who clearly wanted to speak with her too.

We didn’t get very far with whatever that discussion was, because Valene appeared outside the tavern. She looked worn and tired and was hanging back, almost as if fearing to enter the tavern. Naturally, of course, Gwyn and I extended our free arms and insisted she come to us, which she did, running into our arms and holding on for dear life. She was, as always, cold to our touch, but colder still than normal. We both gave gladly of our warmth, but dragged her closer to the fire, where Aoibheann gave her a blanket, which we wrapped around her. Maric asked of there was anything he could do to help, so she asked him for raw meat, if he had any.  He directed Hal to find her a rabbit from todays kill, and then asked us for news of the village and the island. I told him I was unable to say much, explaining how I had been sleeping and mentioning my fear that the energy was ebbing. Maric was most insistent that I talk with him about this, and the sooner the better.

While the meat was being procured, Gwyn detached herself so that she could go and talk to Aerodine. It was clearly something important, but beyond it involving dreams, I could not hear clearly, and after a while, they went off into the village to discuss it where it was quieter. I was disappointed to see her go, as I had not seen her in some days, but realised that the dreams were an important part of her now she was training to be a seer and reluctantly let her go. At least it gave me both arms to wrap around Valene. Hal brought her the carcass of a recently killed rabbit, which she took hold of eagerly, sucking at it as though starved.  Aoibheann looked mildly put off by this, which seemed strange, given that her upbringing must surely have involved having to kill for food. But perhaps it was it was a rabbit, her having some affinity to that creature, as well as it being her nickname.  Either way, she left, claiming she had work to do. Something spooked Val and she left, disappearing into the shadows as she so often does.  Maric then left, leaving instructions for us to be fed and provided with drink as needed. The new girl, Kita, had disappeared somewhere along the way, and none of us had seen her go.  Before long, there was just myself in the tavern, so I finished my drink and retired to the cottage, hoping that perhaps, my Gwyn would join me later.

 To sleep, perchance to dream…(Maria Linnemann)


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