I slept well and woke up early, feeling rested and refreshed. The early morning light was streaming in through the window. In the other bed I could see Merran's sleeping form, breathing steadily. They had given me my own uniforms and assigned me a room in the regular barracks now. I got the suspicion that I was surreptitiously being drafted, but I decided not to worry about that now.
I lay back and folded my hands behind my head. I needed to think.
I'd always had visions, of course, even as a child. They were one of the reasons for Agromas to take me on as an apprentice.
Two steps suffice
The journey to begin
Seek words from without
And truth from within.
There was more about storytelling than just learning the words of a story. Storytellers were taught to reach within for a resonance, a deeply personal connection that would make the story their own. When a master storyteller told a story that personal connection made itself known in every word, and it was magic.
For me, the way to make that connection was through my visions. Visions are tricky. There's no objective reality in visions. You just wander out into a hall of mirrors where your deepest hopes, fears and dreams await you along with, yes, the stories. Everything seems equally real. In fact, the stories are more real than anything else. They're like parasites, all the time looking for a host to ensure their survival. They'll try to posses you, and you can't let them.
I was never completely in control of my visions. Sometimes visions occurred to me spontaneously, and that wasn't supposed to happen. Agromas would give me exercises, plead with me, yell at me to make it stop, and it didn't help.
After I ended my apprenticeship with him and started a family my visions stopped, maybe because I had so many other things on my mind then. They had only began again when I was in Jarvik's prison.
I started thinking about what had triggered these visions. The night at Jarvik's I had somehow got hold of my storyteller's cloak. The decorations were a mnemonic device to help you remember the story. I was touching the decorations for King Evazar's Daughter's Tale when I woke up the next morning and my dream had been related to that tale, so that wasn't too much out of the ordinary.
I thought about the other incidents, and I began to see a pattern. When I stumbled into the water on my way to Stillwater I had heard a child laugh. In my dream Agromas had taken me to a place near the brook. The next day my vision of the little girl also happened near the brook. The blood in the bath-house: the brook came out in a small river, and the bath-houses in Stillwater used that for their water supply. Even my frightening experience in the interrogation room happened when Merran had been wiping my face with a moist cloth. I was willing to bet that I knew where the water that he had used had come from. And what did the woman in my last vision say - my blood is still in the water?
I began to think about the doors with the numerals on them that I had seen in my vision. They sounded like the kind of technique that I would use if I were trying to help someone remember their past. Have them imagine they're standing in a corridor, with doors to represent different years. If you're trying to help someone remember what happened five years ago you have them open the door with 1170 on it and look inside, telling them that they're perfectly safe and that they can close the door any time they want to. Only in my case the door hadn't remained closed, of course.
In my last vision the woman had fled through a door marked 1104, which was seventy-one years ago. Agromas showed me the spot near the brook and told me that something that happened there more than seventy years ago. I wondered about the connection.
And then there was the open door of the interrogation room. And the skull and the thighbone. And the fact that in the bath-house Merran could see the blood coming from the valve as well as I could. Questions, questions, and more questions.
Merran groaned and sat up.
"I feel awful," he announced. "I can't think what you must be feeling like after what you've been through last night."
"I'm right as rain", I said. "Never felt better."
"There's no justice in this world."
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