It was a dream, thought Iricah. I am aboard our ship. I am going to Three Harbors. Everything is fine. It is just a dream.
But she was afraid. And she couldn’t figure out why.
She stood in a grand circular chamber. Larger than she had ever seen before even in Enceladus. Rising like grey mountains before her, inside the chamber, were seven magnificent statues made of stone. Each was aged and cracked, but their size enveloped everything. Giants of an ancient magnificence. Before her, lay her notes and books, and scrolls. Quill pen and ink, and other tools. A cornucopia of her life’s work rested before her upon the stones.
Iricah though was not here to do research. She was here for something else. What is it? she tried to recall. But it was no use. She couldn’t remember. She gazed from face to face. Her friends, her companions. Her enemies. And like an endless tunnel that was always before her, her vision kept coming back to the face of the statue in the center. The woman’s face. The face of Ulua.
The stone came to life, slowly, and the lips parted. The giant face was serene, morose, it’s blank eyes peering down at Iricah. It would speak to her. It’s voice, cruel and unfamiliar, shook the chamber walls. “You know not who they are, nor who will come again,” said the face.
“I know,” she found herself answering. “I know that.”
“You think you will rise? There are heroes everywhere. What rises will be put back.”
“I never asked to be a hero! I never asked to be anything. I just want answers!” she called out. The face simply stared, unblinking. Unfeeling.
“You cannot hide. You cannot rise. We will find you. Like the others. Like all the others.”
A sense of dread overwhelmed her. In her dream, she knew what the voice would say next.
“The Darkness comes soon. You know it’s true. You will cower, the others will cower too. They always have cowered.”
“NO!” she wanted to yell, “No I will not!” she screamed in her mind, but there, in that space, she knew she didn’t believe it. She looked down and all her piles of notes, all her research was gone! She yelled. She screamed. But all the faces were expressionless. Still. There would be no help.
Crying, she stared up into the central face once more. “Where are you Ulua?!” she called out. “Where are you?”
“You know where I am, Iricah.” Came Ulua’s voice. But this time it didn’t come from the statue. It came from inside of her mind.
“Now wake,” it said soothingly. “Wake.”
Iricah awoke sweating. The ship was calm, and she could hear the sounds of sea birds gawking. “We’ve reached the isle,” she spoke to herself. “We’re here.”
“Wake, Madame Iricah,” called one of the deckhands from outside her cabin door. “Madame, we’ve reached Three Harbors. It is time to rise.”
“Yes, it is,” thought Iricah. She tried desperately to remember her dream before the pieces of it that she knew mattered, fell away in her mind.
Like an ancient statue crumbling with age.