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from Aradia's Diaspora by Susan Woerner

Copyright © 2018–2019 Susan Woerner

Scene 43

Feeling lighter than I had in days, I looked for Nana, Pua and Isobeau. I wanted to know what to do next and since Aurie had still not caught up to us, I had to look for information from other sources. I didn’t want to have any time in which to consider the probability that Aurie had returned to her Order and was going about the countryside with her Brothers.

The feeling of lightness gave me room to relax. I certainly felt relaxed. And sleepy. Yawning, I looked about for a place to sit down. There were no places to sit in here. I saw two women who were not Beryl and Galena, escorting Bat down a hallway leading away from the chamber.

Hmm, maybe places to sleep?

“Hello, my name is Lazuli,” a woman said to me. Like Beryl, Galena, and the two women escorting Bat, Lazuli had snow-white skin, sapphire irises and red pupils. Her smile was beatific.

“You are Betty, correct? I heard you yawn. You are tired. Would you like to rest?” she asked.

“You heard me from way over there?” I asked, thumbing off in the distance from where she’d approached, “sorry. You heard me from the other side of this room?”

Lazuli chuckled, “You would be surprised at how sound carries in Chalcedony. Come, follow me and we’ll find you a bed in which to rest. I think you’ll enjoy the soft blankets.”

“That sounds wonderful,” I said stifling a yawn.

Lazuli took my hand and with sure steps lead me down the same hallway that Bat had gone down. We passed other passageways, a potential maze for anyone unfamiliar with the cave, but this glowing being leading me by the hand seemed to have no trouble at all. At last Lazuli pulled back a curtain along one hallway to reveal a small room where two beds were against opposite walls. No one occupied the second bed.

“I am not certain who else might be in the room with you,” she said.

Yawning to the point I brought tears to my eyes, I said it didn’t matter, I’m sure I’d get along with anyone who shared the space with me. All I wanted to do was lie down and pull the blankets up around me. I dropped my pack and fell into the bed. Lazuli was right, the blankets were warm and soft. She was saying something, sitting beside me on the bed. It reminded me of my mom when she would gently stroke my forehead, brushing hair back from my cheeks. This lovely, warm being beside me did the same. It was so sweet I almost cried. But sleep was pulling the shades down. The last I heard was Lazuli singing me a lullaby.

********

Light, rhythmic snoring greeted me on awakening. I felt an arm wrapped about my waist and hips and legs spooning me. Looking down at the hand attached at the end of the arm around my waist, I didn’t recognize who it might be. The bed on the other wall was slept in but apparently someone thought my bed seemed like a better choice - with me still in it.

Rolling slowly onto my back, I got a look at my bedmate - Toci.

Toci? What in the world…

Toci roused a little, her eyelids fluttering.

“Toci. Toci, wake up,” I whispered. I knew the shock of being suddenly awakened and although Toci had been a pain in the butt in the past, she didn’t deserve to be shaken out of her dreamland.

“Mmm?” she asked, her eyes still shut.

“Toci, do you know you have your own bed to sleep in?” I asked her.

Her eyes opened, “Oh, Betty, oh, sorry!” She sat up between me and the wall, wondering how to crawl over me without inflicting pain.

Seeing no way to do so, she sat back against the wall. I sat up as well.

“You were having a nightmare,” she said in way of ...







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