When night’s dark shadows bow deference to the burgeoning dawn, the dreams will come. She can no more prevent them coming than she can stop the sands of Time from flowing. It has always been thus, since the Beginning. Her destiny is to know; to remember what has been and envision what has yet to come.
The sweet smell of honeysuckle suffuses the cave and her face assumes the serenity of one accustomed to the way of things. Her consciousness is immersed in colour: a vortex of dazzling hues, entwined in fierce embrace. She waits, motionless, for the tones to unravel, the images to form . . .
Green is first: verdant forest and meadow, rippling in the breath of a soft summer breeze; downy hills rolling to the distant horizon. Blue follows soon: cobalt seas that dance at the touch of golden sunbeams, the sky a vastness of azure splendour. The woman sighs, humbled by such beauty.
Then red erupts and she gasps, loath to remember. Scarlet hurtles through the valleys and befouls the streams. Women in Roman garb scream in panicked flight from blue-painted warriors intent on their slaughter; mutilated shapes ooze scarlet amidst Andredsweald’s great oaks.
Centuries slip by and scarlet intermittently ebbs and flows. The present races past and the future is suddenly upon her. Black ravens fly, and scarlet is again in full spate.
But honey-gold stands ready.
Some time before I came to my senses and realised that the story of Alfred the Great didn’t lend itself too well to fantasy, I wrote the whole of my now historical fiction novel (Shadow of the Raven) as historical fantasy. The ‘she’ in the scene above is an immortal being – which you’ve probably already gathered. I won’t bore you with her role in the story, but it was a fairly major one.
Imagine how long it took to take out all the fantasy parts. As with the battle scene I posted recently, it’s all still in my deleted file . . .