A golden horse appears in front of me. She nudges me gently and I touch her nose. Downwards it feels like ice, smooth and cold. I twist my fingers back and up. Prickles catch them as icy golden shards imbed my skin.
"Sharviah," the wind seems to whisper. It's the pet name my mother used to call me before everything happened, before the hunt began.
A droplet of blood runs down the horse's face, a single tear of rich redness that at once engulfs my hand and pulls me into her. I am the horse. I gallop towards the castle, wanting only to get to there, to feed the hope that gushes through me.
I reach the castle door and jump down off myself. The golden Equus gallops into the distance. The door is heavy, but as I lean my shoulder in to push, it opens gently... and there she is.
"Mama," I cry.
She draws me to her, arms encircling me and for one sweet moment I let my body sink.
"No Sharviah, you cannot rest yet. The darkness is too strong. Your people are waiting. They wait for your return."
"But how can I go back? I was set free."
"Free to run?" Mama asks. "Free to hide? Where will you hide my child?"
I push closer into her arms and she draws back, her arms unfurling, her fingers closing into fists. "Use the magic," she urges. "Use the light. Use what I taught you all those years ago. Farewell my child."
"Mythrootarnan," I whisper into nothingness as the image of my mother dissipates. The castle walls seem to melt around me and I am left staring into that darkness once again. But there to my right a golden light sputters, like a candle trying to bring itself into flame. I walk towards it. I have no choice. My mother's words are ringing in my ears, "Use the light... use the light..."