"I'm just very confused at the moment," Brandon said, absent-mindedly scratching the back of his head, trying to gather his thoughts.
"Well of course you are!" Alistair exclaimed in a comforting tone, "after all my Lord, it is all a very bizarre situation, as it always becomes when you arrive here. Yet it seems that every time you have been here before, there has most definitely been a reason for it, that I am sure of."
"Part of this feels like a dream, only a recurring dream, as if I've been here before...Like some kind of hazy...watery deja vu..." Brandon strung together, still rubbing his head, with both hands now, his sense of reasoning crashing him scarily down to reality. Talking dogs? Talking dragons? DRAGONS?!
"My Lord, do not fret, these things usually sort themselves out. Perhaps we should get you back up to speed on the finer details of er...oh, oh dear...now.." but Alistair was cut off by a shout from the other end of the hall.
"Oh! OH! Charming!"
Brandon turned and saw a a woman marching across the hall towards him, wearing an elegant gown of pinkish gold that seamed to shine and blend with the surroundings in a way he could not explain. Her hair was silky and smooth, brown and long, falling down past her shoulders. By the time he got to her rather pretty yet defined facial features, she shouted again.
"So! Back again are we? My LORD!" She mocked, words dripping with sarcasm.
"Come now Jaina...It isn't his fault that he-" Alistair began again in exasperation.
"Oh leave it out Alistair, let me deal with this." Jaina snapped but without anger. She strode over the Brandon and grabbed him by the wrist, leading him to the other end of the hall and onto the balcony.
As he stepped out onto it, he realised that it was actually quite large. It had been decorated much like a small garden, with a stone path dotting around lush, green grass, peppered with various exotic looking flowers and plant life. Vines overhung the entrance and at a quick glance upward he noticed they ran up the castle walls quite extensively. He did not know why, but Brandon had an inkling that noticing this would be important somewhere down the line...
"So." Jaina spat, her face full of conflicting emotions, "you figured you'd just leave again, so abruptly, as always, even though you promised you wouldn't." A flicker of sadness appeared on the woman's face, though it was quickly concealed with the stern look Brandon was become accustomed to. "They all love you, but I say we're better off without you...I won't deny, you've done some great things Tassian, but you're so unreliable! Turn up when you like, leave when you like, sometimes for years!"
"Look...Jaina," Brandon began as delicately as he could, the situation was getting out of hand. "I don't know what the hell this all is, apparently I'm here younger then I ever was before. Doesn't that tell you something?"
Jaina looked momentarily uncertain.
"I don't even know how I got here! As far as I'm concerned this could all be a dream, I mean I went to bed and suddenly I'm here...Igladia, it means nothing to me, places like this...things like this don't exist where I come from. I'm just so disorientated at the moment, so please don't have a go at me." He finished his piece with a strained look, almost pleading for Jaina to relinquish her anger.
She turned around quickly and Brandon could've sworn he'd seen her smile, though he couldn't be sure.
"You certainly look...well, different," she chuckled to herself.
"So everyone keeps telling me," Brandon said, rubbing his belly self-consciously. He decided to step foward to the balcony edge next to Jaina and realised, amidst the mini argument that had just taken place, he had neglected to take in the view...
"Wow." Was all he could muster.
A fantastic valley lay before him, a collossal lake about a mile ahead was encircled a huge basin cliff. Some portions of the cliff had eroded away and formed the most beautiful and awe-inspiring waterfalls Brandon had ever seen. Sure, he'd seen a few in his time, but these were mesmerising...Beyond the source of the waterfalls lay what must've been the ocean, stretching far into the horizon.
The castle seemed to be up an a high cliff overlooking this vast valley, with the lake slowly snaking into a river and reaching towards the castle forming it's moat. They were quite high up and Brandon noticed a grand wooden ship sailing across the sea, a dot on the amazing landscape.
"It's so beautiful," he gasped, immediately feeling very foolish. Yet Jaina smiled to him for the first time, although he still detected a hint of sarcasm.
"Your reaction to this never changes does it?"