In a nowhere place, everything is possible.
At the time of Tianoman Valla’s Naming, a blue sphere hovers in the scrying bowl, along with a silver cathron in an ebony floor. The time for that future is due, for beyond realms and the known universe, a mighty manipulation commences, and it assumes the form of blue spherical space.
This is a Nowhere Sphere.
Tianoman is kidnapped by an enemy believed dead, and taken to the place where a silver cathron knocker lurks in the darkness of a polished surface, where also a crucible swirls in vapour, creating within an entity that cannot be permitted life.
An entire planet is vaporised, and souls scream for release in the aftermath. As Torrullin Valla’s memory returns after the event on Echolone, his ability to forgive is buried in the layers time has laid down, and now he needs to care, to feel again, to forgive. He must travel the void created by anti-matter to find not only Tianoman and the other Vallas, but also Elianas Danae, for he will suffer most.
In Nowhere, everything that moves in hearts, minds and souls will become the answers Torrullin requires to again known himself. It will also unmask the Danae.
Purple cups pointed skyward, filled with morning dew. Already the early risers buzzed, waiting for the moisture to lift. It would be a spectacular day in the natural world. It would be a day of reckoning in the supernatural.
~ Universal Prophet ~
HIS EYES WERE SHUT. His mouth was dry. His heart beat erratically. These were the signs of fear.
Rayne, however, was entirely unaware that fear existed. He knew not the concept, the emotion or the reality of it. It had never factored and, therefore, went unrecognized. Yet he comprehended something was different, otherwise, alien … new. He could not give it a name, but he understood, once he grasped this difference, change would follow in its wake. He wondered, only briefly, if change was welcome or something to be shunned. He had no premise upon which to base judgement.
Why was that?
For the first time since the accident that removed from his mind all memory of his past, he wondered why it felt as if he was two-dimensional. In fact, he wondered why he never asked questions of any kind. Had he been living in a vacuum? Or was that vacuum the sum total of life and its experiences? Surely not?
Rayne forced his eyelids open. For a moment he was disorientated, his surroundings strange, and then sunlight picked at his pupils and, a moment after, daylight flooded over him.
He drew breath, then another and another until his heartbeat evened out and his clammy skin normalised. He licked his lips and found that the dryness was only in his imagination, in the moment between oblivious sleep and near-wakefulness. All was well in his world.
Breathing out a last forceful breath, he gave a rueful groan and pushed up. Swinging his legs over the edge of the bed, he clawed his way to the new day, and rose slowly. A stretch came next and a luxurious yawn. He rolled his neck and headed for the bathroom.
Halfway there, he came to a halt.
Dream? He did not dream. Night after night he slept the sleep of the dead because day after day everything was the same. Only experience encouraged images in the dark, the prompts of a mind reworking what it saw, felt or heard in wakefulness.
Only experience encourages … his heart thumped. Where does that thought come from? What is wrong with me?
How did he now understand the concept dreaming? Rayne swivelled indecisively upon the balls of his feet. Again, his heart played its new game. He turned his head to the left, to the almighty view of nature untamed and the potent vista of an ocean so blue it defied description. He frowned. He knew he preferred the majesty of the sea in storm and darkness, an untamed state that spoke to his deeper places. Moving his head to the right, he glanced into the chamber leading from his.
It was empty. His brother was already up, no doubt preparing the morning meal as he did daily. His brother thrived in the routine of a day, always claiming it eased the mind to know the timing of events. Elianas would have answers or would do his best to find them. His brother was there with him when he awakened to a life without a past and recovered from the accident. He would understand what these new and strange feelings and insights meant.
He, Rayne, could trust in that.
Impatient, he headed to the bathroom.
A few minutes later he entered the dressing room and his hands hovered over loose-fitting pants and a bright blue shirt, a comfort and a style he was familiar with. The loose clothes were perfect for wandering in the garden and along well-tended paths … and he hated them. He wore them daily and never questioned the choice, and now he hated them. He despised well-tended paths also. He did not much enjoy routine either.
Biting back an oath, he allowed instinct to guide him and chose clothes he thought more suited. Slowly he dressed, his thoughts skittering from one angle to another, never finding a hold that led to illumination.
Change was the only certainty.
EGGS WERE BEATEN and ready for the pan, the toast was done, and coffee brewed. Breakfast would be a minute or two to serving once Rayne decided to come to table. A smile flitted across Elianas’ face. Rayne could be relied upon to be unreliable. If Rayne did not show soon, he would have to wake the man.
His brother could be trying sometimes. He fought eating, walking and sleeping at set times, but it was best for him at this stage of his recovery to function within a daily schedule.
Elianas straightened cutlery, placed the butter, salt and pepper in the centre of the table, and wiped his hands on a cloth. The eggs would spoil if …
Ah. A tread in the passage beyond. Rayne was awake. He returned to the stove to place the pan upon the heat, but halted movement upon seeing the manner of Rayne’s arrival. Elianas swallowed and the ice of premonition washed him cold.
Dark eyes searched the grey of the fair man entering. “Rayne?” he managed, and silently thanked the gods it came out steady. “I have not seen you wear black before.” I have not seen you wear black since you surrendered memory.
Rayne shrugged. “This morning I realise how much I hate fancy colours. I have much black in there, yet never wear any, thought I would try it.”
Goddamn it, I should have removed his black clothes. There had not been time to do so and, after, taking anything away would have raised questions he could not satisfactorily have answered.
Dark eyes dropped away. Elianas moved to the stove. “It suits you.”
Rayne smiled. “I thought so.”
“Did you sleep well?” A steady hand placed the pan where it had to go, and a firm wrist whisked the eggs a final time before pouring the mixture. Everything was automatic, for his thoughts were in disarray and food was the last matter he considered.
What has changed?
A sigh erupted from Rayne. “I believe I was dreaming.”
Elianas twitched. Fright. Ice. All gods. “Dreaming?”
“I think so. I awoke feeling peculiar and it occurred to me I was dreaming. I never dream, brother.”
There was confusion in Rayne’s voice. With his back to the man, a brother could close his eyes and offer up a prayer to all gods and goddesses. Please, leave him in peace. He is not yet ready. I am not yet ready.
Aloud Elianas said, “People dream, Rayne. You simply do not remember in the morning.”
Had he looked, he would have seen grey eyes narrow. Peripherally, he noted a hand reach up to brush fair hair away from eyes. In the silence eggs scrambled.
“Elianas. Look at me.”
Rayne’s tone was not as accepting as it had been in the months of recovery. Elianas hauled the pan off the heat and faced the enigma of this new day, hoping his face revealed only serenity. Rayne, dressed in tight-fitting black breeches and a woven black tunic, feet encased in black boots, studied him, a small frown marring his forehead. Then he took a single step forward. Elianas take a small step backward. Rayne’s eyes narrowed and this time Elianas saw it, and understood there was intent present.
“Why are you different?” Rayne asked.
Elianas shook his head. “You are different, Rayne.”
A moment elapsed, and a nod followed. “Granted, but you seem afraid.” Another eternal moment passed. “Elianas, I have no concept of fear.”
The man with dark eyes and hair almost gnashed his teeth. “Of course you do. You have merely forgotten how it feels, for there is nothing to fear here.”
An eyebrow arched. “Truly? And what else have you withheld … brother?”
“I am not sure I know what it is you infer.”
Rayne stepped forward another pace and this time Elianas stayed in place. Rayne took another step, another and another until he was close.
Grey eyes impaled him. “I am not sure I know either, but today I know something is different in me, and in you. I further understand your difference is because of mine. I would like to know why that is.”
Elianas smiled. “You are tired …”
“I sleep too much as it is. I am not tired. You side-step.”
Elianas swore, moved from the stove and strode from the kitchen. He needed space to think.
Rayne watched him go – he felt those eyes – and called out, “Where is your black, brother? Are we not a pair?”
Seconds of silence ensued and then Elianas stood in the doorway. His dark eyes were unreadable, his posture stiff with inner tension. “Advice, brother, from one who loves you and has taken care of you these past months, Leave this new angle alone and allow time to heal all wounds first. The moment comes when you will be strong enough to cope.”
“Thus you are hiding something from me.”
“I am protecting you.”
Rayne strode nearer. “I like that not.”
“No, you would not, but I am not saying more.”
Gripping Elianas by the collar, Rayne slammed him against the wall, and then swore and released him immediately. “Suddenly, dreams, the understanding of something called fear, and now capacity for violence. I feel as if another seeks freedom, and he lives in this skin. Who am I, Elianas?”
The hairs in his neck spiked in dread, but Elianas remained calm. “You are Rayne.”
“What am I?”
“A man recovering from a terrible accident.”
Rayne scowled. “Why do I think that is a mistruth?”
Elianas sighed and told the truth, as far as it could go. “You know you lost recall, and it may now be returning. This will be a confusing time for you, but I will help you understand. Just give it time.”
“Time,” Rayne echoed.
Elianas swallowed. He dared say no more.
Rayne glanced into the kitchen. “I seem to have little appetite this morning. I am going for a walk.”
Elianas nodded. Perhaps activity would distract him.
“But not on well-tended paths. They have their place, I know, but this day I aim to seek out the wild places.” Rayne gave a tight smile.
Elianas’ fingers curled into unseen claws.
Rayne walked away. Elianas noticed the hunter stalk had returned to how he moved. Until yesterday Rayne’s movements were more casual. Returning memory would also restore inherent bearing. The dark man slumped against the wall. All gods, he was not ready.
“Elianas, do you think it will storm soon?”
He jerked his head to the left to see Rayne standing in cat-like silence and patience nearby. He shivered within. Stealth was back as well. “I have no idea.”
“Pity. I hanker after a storm.”
“Perhaps it will soon enough. Autumn approaches.”
Rayne inclined his head and continued down the passage. He spoke over his shoulder, “I shall discover my true self in the insanity of a storm, I think. Pray it is soon.”
He vanished from sight.
Long, terrible minutes passed before Elianas could move.
That is what I fear most, my brother. I do fear you may discover your true self in the insanity of a storm. I have prayed for benign weather daily and then I have prayed I have succeeded in blocking your memories sufficiently, in the event the weather does as it does without harking to prayer. That insanity has ever driven us to extremes, and you may never forgive me for removing the other insanity, the one that binds us. All gods, I pray you never remember. A new tomorrow may drive us apart.