In the exact moment that Simon beheld the face of the Queen of the Dead, which also happened to be the precise moment in which Seoc’s clenched right fist connected with Alasdair MacQuarrie’s jaw, Henry awoke with a start from a fitful sleep. For a few frightened moments, he recalled the nightmare he had awoken from, which had involved him clinging to the hour hand of an enormous clock, situated in a high tower overlooking a river, surrounded by strange castles made of something grayish and shiny. Like gems of death. But then the image faded, and the real world returned.
It must have snowed, for it was quite cold in his chamber and the light streaming through the window was abnormally bright. The prospect of leaving the warmth of his blankets did not strike him as a feasible proposition, so he remained in bed.
He dozed off again.
His heart gave a jolt and his eyes flew open. He wasn’t entirely certain for a moment whether he had heard his name or dreamt it. There didn’t seem to be anyone in the room with him, so the second option seemed the likelier of the two. Still, he remained frozen, waiting for further evidence.
“Where is the watch, Henry?”
Watch? What watch?
“You found a pocket watch, Henry. In Waelyngar. Where is it?”
He pulled his blanket over his head and cowered beneath it, as if it would provide him protection. “Go away,” he whimpered tremulously. “Leave me alone!”
“The watch, Henry. Yesss. I left it for you, and you found it. You haven’t lost it, have you?”
“Good. You shall need it shortly.”
“A piece for every queen, Henry.”
He pulled the blankets tighter about himself, shaking violently. “Who are you? What are y-you on about?”
“Make the three of dreams align.”
Cold fingers slipped beneath his fabric and crawled across the back of his neck. “Worm shall fall at three, six, nine.”
“Yessssss, Henry. You’ll need that watch.”