Left of the Bibliotheca Somnia, and slanting somewhat northwards the corridor swerves. The floor is covered with a threadbare carpet of maroon with beige swirls, intricate details lost under years of wear and dust. She pays attention to each dip and swerve in the floor as she walks, her fingers trailing the rough surface of the wall, counting each footstep she makes. Ahead, the triumphant cries of dragons. She does not know yet that elsewhere, trees are battling dragons with their fractured arboreal apparitions of dreaming. She does not know that the Great Dreaming of the trees had been interrupted by a well-aimed, albeit somewhat marred projectile.
She only knows that it feels like the world is erupting in chaos about her. You will not perhaps know her as a distinct entity from a multitude of women protagonists within this House of Exiles, but perhaps you might be interested in the details, as she is. The details matter more to her than her own name or whether or not she has a character distinct enough for you to take note. The frayed hem of her favourite dusky rose morning gown reaches past her ankles and worry at her favourite pair of house slippers with every step that she takes. The slippers are embroidered with pansies and trailing leaves on a darker green fabric. Her fingers, dark brown, meddle with the peeling paint on the rough wall as she pads on, swerving downwards, ever downwards. She sees herself thus.
A pair of hands, a pair of slippered feet, soft, subdued slapping sounds made against the threadbare, somewhat pungent carpet as she navigates herself through the rabbit warren that the domus sometimes resembles. Her hair, frizzy and black, escapes her braid in opposing directions, making her look like a disjointed, ill-put together apparition who strolls through corridors at the break of dawn. A pair of eyes to observe. Ears to listen to gossip. A mind to filter. Lips to be pursed, keeping their own counsel.
She is ignored by the house-imps and the djinn wielding a vacuum cleaner. She reaches the steps. She takes them, one at a time, pausing to look through the cracked windowpane at the sun rising above the Forest of Dreams. There, a host of dragons congregate, and seem to be swooping into the forest. Moments later, a deafening rumbling sound is heard and her vision feels enveloped by shades of green and deep umber, conflicting with one another.
When her vision finally settles, this is what she sees. A violet dragon, flying upwards to meet the host of dragons. Along with her, swirling shapes in iridescent colors mimic the movement of the wind. The host of dragons surrounds the elegant Himalayan dragon on all sides. With an elegant precision, the violet dragon swoops and plunges earthwards once more, evading their closing ranks. They begin to roar.
Moments later she barrels into the sky again, this time above them, with her the host of earth spirits and aerial dancers of the forest. She bugles imperiously at them, a strong, draconic voice that reaches the walls and rafters of Domus Exulis. From her window, the woman in dusky rose watches. As the sun rises higher, this is what she sees: one by one, the flanks of the draconic formation step back. Heads are bowed in submission. The violet Queen sings to them a Hymn of Earth and Sky. The swirling shapes of the forest surround her, for this is a dragon who was also a tree. The woman knows this. Everyone on the island knows this. And now there is silence, for the dragons rumble no more. They have found their Queen, and she has accepted them, but has also subdued them.
The woman in dusky rose ponders what this would mean for the rest of the isle, and if this will bring the Wild Hunt out of hiding. When one wild host subsides, another must rise, after all. This is the order of things. There can only be silence, for a little while before one pattern or another will unravel. Chaos and change. The woman smiles to herself at this thought. It is a quiet smile, with a hint of bitterness. She resumes her journey, left of the bibliotheca, swerving northwards, towards a room found several levels below where her implements await her. This is all she has for now. Details. Knowledge of other lives. That is all she needs for now.
(c) Anita Harris Satkunananthan. All Rights Reserved.