This is Sarah, she has no last name, doesn't know her history... but could likely be a late repercussion of Aginor's experiments, before he got Draghkar just right. For those in the dark, a Draghkar is basically an 8 foot tall bat like thing... they don't speak, but their songs seduce humans to a state of unresistable paralysis. It is in first person.
I loved to dream. My dreams were filled with such things of beauty, things of majesty, things one could only dream of. In my dreams I could fly from the Aryth Ocean to The Spine Of The World, I could fly above the Atha'an Miere, and I could fly above the Great Blight. I would soar effortlessly through clear cloudless skies. The joy of it would warm me. I wish I could still dream this way, but dreams have changed. I have changed. This is my story...
The wind whipped through my sand-coloured hair as the ground swept by below my feet. Nations passed under me, Dragonmount reared on the horizon. I was free. The darkening sky wove beautiful cloud shapes as I spun my gaze away from the ground. The dusk air chilled my skin as I glided through it. The warm sun beamed down upon my back. I rolled in flight, closing my eyes to let the sun embrace me, but a chill as if from midnight incarnate held me. I opened my eyes with a gasp and my body felt torn apart. The sun no longer shone as it descended, and at the evening sky's zenith was a darkness to absorb all light. From the chilled air came droplets of water which froze to my skin as I plummeted, my wings failing me. The time has come to fulfill your legacy... ahh my child, your time has come.
I still fell, twisting in midnight's embrace. My eyes heralded trees that swept towards me. I could no longer fly, only fall. Tree's limbs scratched the now heartless sky, grasped upward as if to catch my body. The tips of branches like daggers pierced the sky as I fell. The voice crooned, You will fall away from this life, into vast darkness. Embrace me.
I squeezed my eyes shut tight, but they felt like beading out. I felt only the cold, like frozen pins in my body, I knew I would hit the trees soon. I opened my mouth and shrieked, blood-curling terror as the trees stabbed into my body.
I was wide awake. In my bed. The darkness was still there, the cold was still there, but I was in my bed, lying wrapped in my blankets. My body convulsed, the pain was still there too, like daggers ripping into my back. I reached behind me and my heart almost stopped as I felt my back. Big bumps of cartilage stood out, running parallel the length of my spine; from my shoulder blades running down my back. Terror struck my mind, and I curled into a ball. The pegs holding my bed together creaked and I froze. If anybody saw me like this... my mind shuddered, but I dared not move more. The bumps were still there but the daggers of pain receded. After a while of trying not to think about it, and shifting in my bed, I was able to fall asleep again.
I shivered awake the next morning, my nightclothes sticking cold to my body with sweat. I remembered with terror the night before and it was minutes until I worked up the nerve to reach behind me. I held my breath and felt my back - the bumps were gone. My skin felt very dry, but the bumps were gone. What is happening to me? What was that? I can't let anybody find out... that voice... I didn't want to remember that voice, as cold as death itself. I was so scared that day, in case somebody might have found out. I stayed away from all my friends. I found some places where I could be completely alone, places where nobody lived.
That first night was only a memory after a while. The details of it escaped to the back of my mind and I was able to convince myself to talk to my friends more - not about that night though, never about that night.
That first night was only a memory, until it happened again. I had the same dream, and when I woke up the daggers of pain stabbed into my back. The pain didn't go away this time though, but I dared not scream. The darkness of my room played on my mind and I started to make things up that weren't there. Unable to fall asleep again, I got up and went to one of my spots, deep in the forest where nobody would find me. The pain still lingered and tears crept down my cheeks. In the clouded moonlight I could see very little, but enough to notice small bumps along my arms as well, and something else... my skin didn't look right. It wasn't the bumps but in the moonlight I could see colour, my skin was a dark blue, and very dry. Terror laced my veins and my body shook. I wanted to scream, but if anybody saw me like this...
Come home, Sarah.
I jumped at the voice and looked around, surely nobody knew of this place, and then the realization struck. That was no ordinary voice, that was the voice of death, from my dreams. But was it here? It couldn't be.
This life will fall away... Embrace me.
That voice came inside my head, like in my dreams. I could restrain myself no longer, death was inside my head telling me to embrace it. I screamed, and the sound pierced the night. I heard people moving around, saw lights turn on through the foliage. I had to get away before they found me, like this. I ran. I don't know which way at first but I ended up at my house and got back to bed, shivering. The running let me forget about the pain, and I slept.
Come morning once again the bumps were gone and my skin returned to its original colour. The only difference was my hair. It was very light, sand-coloured only months ago and now it was turning darker, almost unnoticeably, but definitely a darker shade.
This time the fear stayed with me, the memory did not fade. I had the dream more often, and each time it was worse, the pain was not as sharp, but the bumps were larger and my skin darker. It all faded by morning, all except the voice. Cold as death it whispered any time I though of telling somebody, when I thought I couldn't handle it anymore. It whispered when I wanted to be with my friends. It was always whispering in my mind, and I couldn't escape it.
There was one small comfort left to me. His name is Ralkien Malfouri. We had been friends since we were... well, as long as I can remember. We were never the best of friends, but as close as children get. Since the first time I had the dream though, I had avoided him; if he found out... I didn't want to lose another friend. But recently, even though I have been avoiding him, I've noticed other people avoiding him. He didn't play with his friends in the field as much, sometimes I didn't see him at all for days. When I was thirteen, I was a year younger than Ral, I decided I would befriend him again. I was tired of being alone, and the voice in my head wasn't very comforting.
Ral and I did become friends again, thank the Light. It seemed he was as lonely as I, but I wasn't about to tell him what was happening to me. When we were together I was happy, I could forget the voice, forget the nights when I woke with fear driving my heart, fear of the voice being right, that this life would fall away and that only darkness would be left.
Ral seemed to be very happy too, I would walk with him often and show him my secret places, I would take him to the library and we would read for hours about all sorts of things. Ral liked to read stories about places I could fly to in my dreams. We would also read books about the Old Tongue, and laugh as we could never pronounce the words right. We tried anyways and could remember some words. We would call each other mi cue, my heart. I don't think it is a direct translation, but that made it even more special to us.
Once when we were walking, when I showed him the last of my secret places, the one deep in the forest by the field. I retrieved a rock, one I had found and kept. I held it in my palm, it was oval shaped and flat, about the length of my thumb. It was a murky green, and almost seemed to swirl in the light. It reminded me of a picture I saw in a book once, a picture of a pool inside a cave, as if in the heart of a mountain. It looked like water, so clean and deep. I looked up into Ral's eyes, eyes as deep as the forest around them. He was about to say something, so I put my finger on his lips and pressed the stone into his palm. "Ral, keep this. From me, remember me. Forever. Mi cue." I whispered.
He stared back into my eyes, "Sarah, what...?" he glanced into his palm and caught his breath. "Sarah, it's beautiful. I... thank you." He smiled as I wrapped him in my arms. If he only knew... I thought. I was planning to run away, to be rid of everything, and I wanted Ral to remember me. A tear slipped down my cheek and I wiped it away before he saw. I would spend as much time with Ral as I could before I left, but I couldn't stay forever. We spent a long time there, just sitting and talking. Ral told me I was beautiful, that he could be with me forever. My heart shattered, because I knew we could never be. He told me that when he looked into the stone it was like gazing into my eyes, and he blushed. I will remember that bittersweet day forever.
That night I dreamed again, but it was different. I was flying over the world, but the sky was dark the whole time. Flying beside me were other things, almost indistinguishable in the faded light, but they looked like giant bats. They flew closer to me and I felt their dry skin rub against mine. Then they started to sing, a haunting song, a song that reached into my soul and gripped me. The voice crooned in my mind, Come home Sarah, embrace me... This time there was no falling, the group of bats flew with me through the night singing to me, and the voice whispered.
The next morning I woke up, my whole body was dry, and chilled. In the morning light I saw my hair hanging in front of my eyes, it had turned a very dark brown, almost black. That day I stayed away from Ral, that whole week I stayed in my secret places, and Ral never found me. I cried myself to sleep every night out of misery. Every night I had that dream again, where I flew with the bats.
I went to the library to see if I could anything about these beasts, I remembered seeing a picture of something like them once. I found a book, it was a soldier's diary, apparently from a very long time ago, possibly from another age. I read through it as he described the battles he fought against Shadowspawn, him and the army he fought with. His king was Aemon and he rode with the Red Eagle into every battle. The soldier was very proud of his land and he fought valiantly. In one of his entries he described the enemy, the Trollocs and Myrddraal, and large human-like flying bats. Draghkar. The description fit perfectly with my dream. Shadowspawn. That scared me and I left the library, hoping nobody saw me.
After that week, I went to find Ral again, but he was nowhere to be found. I searched everywhere, I even asked people if they had seen him, people he knew. Most of them walked away, but one said, "He left. He has been gone for two days. Some Asha'man came, they took him away, to be part of the Dragon Reborn's army."
The news hit me as hard with emotion as the first night I awoke to being a mutant. Ral was gone. Not only that, but he was recruited for the Dragon Reborn. That meant he could channel the One Power. That meant I would never see him again.
That night, I wept long before I was able to sleep, but when I did sleep, I dreamed again, but it was different. I flew with the Draghkar through dark skies again, but this time, I flew above them and I lead them, and they followed. Anywhere I flew, they flew behind me, always singing. I realized I was flying over the Blight, over top of Shayol Ghul itself and the Draghkar fell away. Compelled by their singing I followed them down and lighted on the slopes of Thakan'dar. I looked up to see a man standing there, with caverns of fire for eyes. He opened his mouth to speak and there seemed a furnace behind his mask, a yawning depth of unquenchable fire. He smiled, and without moving his lips, I heard, Welcome home, Sarah.
I woke instantly, shivering. I shifted in my bed and felt something. Something other than the bumps. I reached behind me, starting from my shoulder blades and extending down my back were two thick columns of cartilage with large flaps of skin stretching between them and similar branches of cartilage jutting out near my shoulders. They were so dry, yet strong and flexible. More than skin, I realized, wings. The branches were jointed, and folded in half, and the skin was attached from along the length of them to the runners along my back.
It was still night, nobody was awake. I got out of bed and packed some of my possessions in a small bag. I grabbed some food and left. I ran away from my house, left Aringil, and kept running. My wings shifted underneath my shirt, the dry skin chafing. I flexed the muscles lining my back and spikes of cartilage lining my wings ripped the fabric of my shirt. I flexed harder and my wings ripped free. I spread my wings into the air, but they were too weak yet. I tore my shredded shirt off and wrapped myself with my wings to keep warm. I didn't feel the cold much though, I knew I should be shivering but I was almost warm.
I kept running and hiding, and running more. I think I had gone north, and followed the river. After months I made it to Kinslayer's Dagger. I had read enough books to be able to survive, but the practice was different than the theory. A few weeks after that, my wings developed and the coldest night's air no longer bothered me. I thought often of Ral, and what had become of him, I missed him dearly, and I wondered if he ever thought about me. Even if he did and we ever saw each other again, things would be different.
About a year has passed now, since I've been living in the Dagger. My hair has turned black as pitch and my skin as well is dark as a week old fire's ashes. I have learned to survive though. The voice still whispers to me, tells me that I am home, but mostly I can ignore it. Someday I will find Ral again, and until then, I look forward to it.