A Night of Thorns
She wore a dress of silk and roses, with threads of gold that shone magnificently in the sunlight. Taliori was absolutely radiant where she stood, shining like a sun of her own that lit the halls of the palace they must have been standing in.
Yet beside her stood another, who was cloaked in shadow. Even despite the brilliant rays that exuded off of the woman next to him, no face could be distinguished of the man, save for the wicked grin that twisted and stretched his features. In a flash, the shadow lashed out, latching onto her arm with what looked like thorns.
She cried out and tried to pull away but to no avail. The more she struggled, the more the thorns overtook her. Soon, the brilliance she once exuded began to fade and dim, consumed by the shadow that menaced over her.
Gabriel watched it all play out like a horror show. He started forward and attempted to reach for her, but no matter how far he ran, she only got further and further out of his reach.
Then they appeared on either side of him: two women of very fair hair and gowns of golden silk, with suffocating scents of roses that made his stomach turn when he breathed. They looked upon him with wide, vicious grins that expelled laughter as they snatched at his arms with surprising strength, holding him in place. He struggled to break free of their iron grip and called out to the fading light, only for her silence to greet him. In his ears, he was taunted with hisses of failure by the two women, and as he looked, their mouths opened wide to reveal pairs of fangs. They struck, biting into him before transforming into a pair of immense serpents that wound around him and squeezed the air from his lungs. As their venom slowly began to overtake him, he could feel his strength quickly fading until he was left in nothing but darkness.
She will choose.
Do you really think you have any power to stop it?
Gabriel awoke with a start, tossing the sheets from his form as he struggled against something that was no longer there. Once realization washed over him, he stopped and stared wide eyed around the dark room he was in. It was his cabin on the ship, a familiar place he had grown accustomed to over the last few years, and he was alone. There were no serpents, no thorns.. and no Taliori.
It had all been nothing more than a nightmare. A nightmare brought on by the vision the witches’ cards had shown him.
As his heartbeat began to slow, he caught sight of something on the bedside table. A ceramic mug with traces of used herbs at the bottom from the medicinal tea the witch had given to him.
Only she can choose her path. You cannot steer it for her.
Uncontrollable anger immediately flared up within him. In an instant, the mug was snatched up and thrown in a rage. As it shattered against the opposite wall, he placed his head in his hands and tried to force the images of despair from his mind.
For the first time in years, he felt powerless.