Characters: Dunstan Kordieh, Ryath Oaks
(Contains excerpt from “Fears & Tribulations, Part 1”)
Dunstan Kordieh looked around the small room. The walls were smooth, not-quite-metallic, a flowing pattern of blue and grey. A small hatchway with a viewport at eye level was just to his left; a large hatchway was off to his right.
His heart began to pound as he realized where he was. On the Phoenix.
In the airlock.
He turned toward the viewport on the inside wall. “Please …”
His voice trailed off into silence as he recognized the face on the other side. Large, dark blue eyes in a small, elfin face, framed in short, fine blonde hair.
“Ryath? Ryath, please, don’t do this …”
Her answer came with a fierce, vengeful expression. She raised her hand, slapping the airlock’s control.
The outer hatch opened, blowing all the air and Dunstan Kordieh out into frozen black emptiness.
He came to a moment later and looked around. He was alive and well — back on Minbar, standing at the foot of the mah’uzeed he had come to think of as his own.
As he turned to enter it, he could hear music. The cadences repeated, rising, repeating and rising again, even as his spirits were rising. He felt as happy as he could ever remember being, perhaps more happy than he had ever been. And as he made his way up the path of steps, he was no longer walking, but dancing, feet moving in time to the sound.
All the way to the top of the mah’uzeed, where he emerged into brilliant sunlight, Dunstan Kordieh danced.
Blinking a few times, Kordieh brushed the hair out of his eyes and sat up. The dream was very confusing.
The first part was all too familiar. The airlock dream. It had been with him since he had blown up the Phoenix, since the day when it could have become real all too easily. And it came back often, whenever he was troubled with fear or doubt.
But why would Ryath be in the role of his executioner?
And what could the rest of it — joyously dancing his way up his mah’uzeed — possibly mean?
Still puzzling, he got himself cleaned and dressed, thinking perhaps he could talk to Chaplain Sinthann about it. He always seemed to grasp the meaning of Kordieh’s dreams.
Then, he noticed there was a message waiting for him. It was StellarCom — so from off the ship — but there was no indication of who the sender was. Surprised, and a little nervous, he told the computer to open it.
A full size hologram of Ryath appeared in front of him, and began to speak.
“Anla’shok Kordieh. Dunstan.”
He stifled a gasp and listened.
“Before we meet again, there are things I need to tell you. Things that have reference to our last meeting, and departure. If you find yourself unable to hear these words, please delete the message by waving your hand through the image.”
Kordieh locked his hands behind his back.
“When we first met, I had started to change. I was in pain, confused and dangerous. Yet you stayed even after Kim had left. I believe you saw something of yourself in me then, and found you could not turn your back on me. I also think we made a connection, one that happens rarely in the Universe.
“Through my transformation you stayed, you even stayed after I had injured you, and I know that with that one action the injury was deep. I regret it, and wish I could tell you this in person. Maybe, when I return with my traveling companion; who is well, as is the package we retrieved; we can speak further of this and another matter?
“I am a Mage, Dunstan. Worldly in the matters of politics, and war. Knowledgeable in affairs of the Universe, but I have never had to understand emotions. Mine or another’s; yet this is the result of my transformation. I find myself inundated with emotions that are not my own and have to somehow cope. It was unfortunate that I could not start my transformation away from others, but I see it now as a test. A test I failed!
“I hope you can forgive my transgression, and that we might be able to tell each other how we truly feel.”
“How we truly feel …” Kordieh echoed the last words of the message as the image disappeared. This was incredible. Ryath — drawn to him, even as he had felt drawn to her?
He looked over at the console, hoping he could play the message again — but it was gone. She must have set it to erase itself — he refused to believe he had imagined this.
Sighing, he left his quarters and headed toward the Station House. He wanted to talk to Chaplain Sinthann, but now he owed Darquin a report about the message. And desperately needed the advice of a fellow human male, he thought wryly.
Copyright (c) 2003 Jamie Lawson. All rights reserved.