Chapter Sixteen- Nightmare
Azkedelia stood on the balcony watching the sunset. Merlin came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist.
Azkedelia leaned back against him and smiled. "The sunset's beautiful."
Merlin pressed his lips against her hair. "It is, but not as beautiful as the girl in my arms."
Merlin put his chin on top of her head. "The sun's set and you need your rest."
"Your point is?"
Merlin smiled. "My point is you should go to bed."
Azkedelia turned and looked at Merlin. "I'll only go if you come with me."
Merlin laughed. "Come on, Az."
Merlin picked her up bridal style and carried her inside. He gently set Azkedelia on the bed and turned off the lights. A fire appeared in the fireplace. Azkedelia pulled back the black sheets and slid between them.
Merlin stood in front of the fireplace, the firelight leaping across his face. "Something's wrong and you're not telling me what it is. What's bothering you, Az?"
Azkedelia shook her head. "It's nothing. My imagination's just messing with me."
Merlin looked at her. "Az, that's a lie. Tell me what it is and I'll do everything I can to fix it."
Azkedelia sat up and crossed her legs. "You're going to think I'm crazy. But ever since Pyro attacked me, I've been having really vivid nightmares."
Merlin took a step closer to the bed. "And what are these nightmares like?"
Azkedelia looked away. "I'm alone, walking down an abandoned hallway and I can't stop walking. I know that there's something that wants to hurt me at the end of the hallway, but I can't stop walking towards it."
Merlin sat beside Azkedelia and put his arm around her. "Az, those are probably just nightmares, but think we could try something just to be sure?"
Merlin grabbed her hand. "When you're dreaming, I can channel your dreams to the mirror and I'll watch them."
Azkedelia looked up. "If it'll help stop these dreams, then okay."
Merlin got up. "Az, I'll be right back, I'm going to get something to help you sleep."
Azkedelia nodded as Merlin walked to the door.
He opened it and then stepped back. "Nix! Aren't you supposed to be in California?"
Nix pushed past Merlin and walked in Azkedelia's room. "Azkedelia Italia Keystone! What are you still doing here? You need to leave!"
Azkedelia looked at Nix. "Hello to you too, sis."
Nix set her bag down on a chair by the fireplace. "Az, you were almost killed! How long is it going to be before the 'almost' is taken out of the equation?"
"That's what I keep telling her, but she won't listen. And I'm going to go get something to help her sleep."
Nix pulled a green vial out of her bag. "No need. I've got something."
Merlin closed the door and walked back in the room. "Nix, Az was talking about nightmares she's been having. I was going to channel them on the mirror so we could see what's troubling her in her sleep."
Nix nodded and handed the bottle to Merlin.
Merlin walked to the bed. "Az, lay down."
Merlin uncorked the vial and held it to her lips. She drank the sleeping potion and her eyes closed immediately. Merlin looked at Nix.
Nix shrugged. "It's fast acting. It's the best thing whenever someone needs to sleep."
Merlin nodded and put one hand on Azkedelia's forehead. The other hand was aimed at the mirror. Merlin whispered an incantation and the surface of the mirror turned cloudy. When it cleared, Nix and Merlin were watching Azkedelia's dream. In the dream, Azkedelia was wearing a floor length faded white dress with a jagged black hem that fanned out on the floor behind her. A black ribbon tied at her waist and fell to the floor, fanning out with the rest of the skirt. The sleeves were long and wide, swallowing Azkedelia's arms and hands in a mass of off-white fabric. Azkedelia pulled her hair behind her shoulders, revealing a black choker with obsidian gemstones glinting in the eerie light. Scarlet red wallpaper looked like blood dripping down the walls. A deep, bone-chilling laugh filled up the air. Azkedelia stopped walking and stood trembling in the abandoned corridor.
The laugh sounded again. "Come here, Azkedelia Italia Keystone. Come here."
Azkedelia slowly started walking forwards again. She reached the end of the hallway. The wall slid back, revealing a dark room glowing pale green.
"Do not be frightened, Azkedelia. Come closer."
Azkedelia kept walking into the room. The dark stone walls had shreds of scarlet wallpaper clung to the walls. Thick slime coated the walls. Albino and black plants lived on the slime. Acid dripped from the ceiling. Green light from an indeterminate source up high in the air. Gleaming bones littered the floor. Azkedelia's skirt whispered in the silent, oppressing air as it brushed over the bones. Black whispering cloaked shadows stood on the edges of the light. At the center of the room was an ornately carved stone waist high table.
"Come forward, Azkedelia Italia Keystone."
Azkedelia walked forward, entranced by the power of the voice.
"Lie down on the table, Azkedelia Italia Keystone."
Azkedelia walked forwards and sat on the table. She swung her legs up. There was a hidden slit in the skirt. The skirt draped over the stone and spilled onto the floor. Her legs were bare up to her mid-thighs. A whispered chant began and slowly grew in volume. A ghost-white djamphir in all black walked closer to Azkedelia. The djamphir had a wickedly curved dagger held in his hand. The djamphir lifted the dagger high. He was about to plunge it in her heart. Azkedelia screamed and the mirror faded back to the clear surface. Azkedelia started thrashing around.
"No!" she screamed over and over.
"Az! Az, it's okay! It was just a dream! Az!" Merlin pulled the blankets down and tried to wake her up.
Nix stood up and grabbed her sister's hand. "Az! Wake up!"
Azkedelia screamed again and started levitating. She hovered three feet above the bed.
Azkedelia opened her eyes and they rolled back into her head. "Fiæries!"
The fire in the fireplace leapt up and flew under Azkedelia, forming flaming wings. Her blazing wings crackled and snapped. Azkedelia's wings wrapped around her, forming a flaming cocoon. Azkedelia was slowly lowered back to her bed. The flaming cocoon faded away. Merlin and Nix looked at each other and then at Azkedelia. Azkedelia was sleeping peacefully without a single scorch or burn. Merlin held one hand over her head and the other towards the mirror, whispering the incantation. The mirror swirled and turned grey, then cleared up and turned black.
Merlin dropped his hand and stopped the incantation. "She's having a dreamless sleep. She'll be okay for awhile, she's not waking up anytime soon."
Nix nodded. "Merlin, we need to talk."