She was staring at him from an ocean of blood, her blue eyes piercing through his soul.
"Chase..." she called in a whisper, "Chase, come back to me..."
The blood was rising around her, even as she held out a small hand towards him, which was impossible to reach no matter how he struggled.
Waves of the malicious waters grew in strength, washing over his beloved and turning her golden locks crimson as her fragile body was tossed through the storm. Blood suddenly started to pour from the sky, blurring his vision.
"Chase!" she screamed suddenly, making him jump into the yawning depths in pursuit of the sound, only to lose sight of her gleaming hair.
Something was pulling him down, under the surface. Chase fought against it, only falling feeble when the torrents of rain were indistinguishable from the sea and up and down were one and the same...
The foul liquid swarmed into him, filling his lungs until they were leaden, invading his senses.
And then it was gone. There was only darkness and nothing more, until the void was filled with a familiar presence, one that he had memorized.
He felt her arms wind around him and returned the embrace, until a blinding light was shining down onto them. Chase was suddenly wrenched up and towards it, watching as Casey tried desperately to pull him back.
And then he was in yet another world, a castle's room with tapestries and grand statues sitting ornately below the vaulted ceiling. The sound of laughter reached his ears and, turning in the candle-lit space, he found himself looking at a darkly beautiful woman sitting in the massive throne on the pedestal high above him.
Her chestnut curls cascaded down her bare shoulders, contrasting with the revealing black corset gown tumbling over her calves. Long, dark nails tapped at the armrests, the sound reverberating through the chamber.
The kohl-rimmed eyes of the royal opened, evaluating Chase with a cold topaz gaze. Crimson red lips parted in a haunting smile, laughing again and causing the crown on her head to glitter in the dim light.
"My, Chase," she spoke, her words echoing towards him, "You really never were the sharpest tool in the shed. Or perhaps that was only in contrast to my own brilliance."
She stood, starting to descend the many steps as she continued.
"You see, Mr. Turner, I have easily become the Empress of the universe and you yourself allowed it to happen even as you crusaded against the power of my people. I toyed with your heart and played you like a violin, only to cut your strings."
The woman chuckled, finally stepping off of the staircase and onto level ground with Chase.
She was tall but still a bit shorter than him, with a strangely familiar face.
"You probably wonder why I would be giving you such prophecies, but I have already grown tired of the kingdom of Earth. Humans are weak and obedient, nothing but mindless slaves. I want a challenge. I want you to try to stop me. If you can manage it, then you have your planet, but if not..."
She pursed her lips in amusement and snapped her fingers, making what was presumably a servant scurry towards her and kneel, quaking. The Empress gestured for him to stand, looking bothered. As soon as he was on his feet, looking extremely frail, she grabbed his chin and wrenched it so that Chase could see the face of the lowly subject.
It took a moment for Chase to recognize him, but when he did it made his blood run cold. For there he was, watching a starved version of himself wearing the crest of the Empress, covered in scars presumably from torture and with light milky eyes devoid of emotion.
"Do you like my servant, Mr. Turner? I can assure you, he was hard to break in. But all humans have a breaking point, as I have found, and with a bit of encouragement and a curse that has kept him alive centuries, this once strong ox has become no more than a mouse."
Chase watched in horror as the Empress took the sword the servant was holding and used it to impale him, letting his corpse drop. The weak creature stood a few seconds later, bowing deeply and scurrying away unaffected except for the pain in his eyes.
"See?" the Empress said mockingly, leaning on her sword, "I have many resources at my disposal. The same resources that allowed me to visit you like this despite the sacred laws of Time and Space, and the same resources that have kept you from uttering a word during my visit."
Chase opened his mouth to speak, but it was true. Not a sound escaped.
The Empress stepped towards him, so close that her skirts brushed against his fingers. He tried to move away, but his feet were somehow rooted to the ground.
"Feel free to give up," she started, gazing up at him, "But, knowing you, I doubt that will happen. I welcome the contest, and I suppose I should wish you luck. The gods know you'll need it."
Now he was sure he had seen this face somewhere before, somewhere else. The name was just about to come to him, almost into the place where full ideas were conceived.
The Empress looped her arms around his neck, tilting her head to study him with her deep smoky eyes pulling him into their depths.
"You were right Chase," she started, meeting his gaze directly, "Sometimes it really is best to go where the current of the world takes us."
Before Chase had a chance to make the connection the Empress had eliminated the distance between them in a forceful kiss, claiming his tongue with her own and making fire spread through him.
And then he jerked awake, the strange dream already starting to fade from memory.
The name, the name of the woman he had seen was very much clear to him now.
Eva Georgia Nicholson.