Lurea dreamed of goblins chasing a hobbit, his little legs propelling him forward as quickly as they could.
"Morg!" the hobbit screamed, briefly looking back toward the weapon-brandishing threat, his face obscured by darkness. His voice seemed familiar, but she could not place it, at least not within the dream haze. She continued to watch, transfixed by the horror, as one present, but invisible, to the beings in the scene.
One especially disgusting goblin, a creature whose nose oozed blue mucus, lunged forward, scratching at the hobbit's leg, but not stopping the defenseless creature's frantic ascent through the dark tunnel. A moment later, the hobbit stumbled, scratching his elbow on the stone wall at his side. His face, contorted in pain, turned slightly toward Lurea and the dying torch upon the opposite wall.
With a sharp pain in her stomach, she realized that this was no ordinary hobbit that ran for his life--it was her beloved Hobbituk! This must have happened not long before his death, she thought mournfully, turning away for fear of seeing the death, if it were imminent. Her eyes grew blurry...oh, if only she could touch his face and tell him how much she loved him! But, this was only a dream, and she was aware that he could not see her. Yet, the fact that she was cognizant of the dream meant that she was nearly conscious in her stone cell, no longer struggling with the delta wave world that had been driving her mad. While she was still chained mentally, the sorceress elf was rapidly reclaiming her sanity.
Hobbi's small form in the darkness dissolved into a blindingly gold field filled with waving goldenrod, yellow-orange asters, and stalks heavy with ripe wheat. Turning away from the sun that tinged the yellow with gold, Lurea discerned a distant figure, wrapped in a heavy wool cloak much too warm for the early autumn day. The peredhil's dress of blue silk fluttered at her ankles--a dream-dress, she assumed, for she did not own a dress in this shade of periwinkle--and her hair was an unusual shade of brown, which she noted as a lock alighted upon her pale arm like a butterfly.
In this state of lucid dreaming, Lurea knew that she could maneuver around the world as she wished, without threat of harm. Moving closer to the hooded figure, she picked up her skirt and ran down the slight incline that distinguished the hill from the surrounding plain.
The elf stopped just before the lone figure, her hair flying in the strong breeze that had rolled into the valley only moments before. Silence was their other companion for several minutes and then the figure hesitantly removed its hood.
"Lucinthe, I come to you only because all other aid has failed our village. The orcs now attack at night, taking with them our livestock and our livelihood, not to mention the lives of those who resist." The woman bitterly scowled at Lurea, attempting to shield her opposite cheek from the peredhil.
"I am not--" Lurea began, but was immediately interrupted.
"Do not tell me that you cannot help us...when you left the village, the crops withered with your final curse and scores died from starvation. No one cares about your past, about your...indiscretions." The last was spoken smugly, as though she were pleased that Lurea, or whoever the woman thought the elf was, had been caught and tried.
Flashes of moments struck Lurea's mind--a man, fair-haired and blue-eyed, stroking her face with lust in his eyes; an irate wife, thick-waisted and scraggle-haired, shaking her fist at her unfaithful husband's lover; a council of yeomen that condemned a witch to burn; the fire licking at her feet, slowly consuming each toe with exquisite agony.
The problem was, these were not Lurea's memories--they were another's!
She suddenly felt a desperate need for a mirror. Who was she, if not Lurea?
As her panic rose to a crescendo, the other woman continued to speak of the village's woes. Lurea's mind suddenly supplied her with an answer, in a voice she did not recognize as her own:
"I shall come. Nimuen, take me home, back to the stench of death and poverty, of tainted purity and false saintliness. Lead on, wretched woman of broken humanity."
From whence did the name come? Lurea knew not.
Scowling, Nimuen turned and began to head west into the setting sun. As she passed Lurea, the elf was startled by long, deep scars that marred a once-beautiful face, the reason for Nimuen's garb.
Reaching up to her forehead (though she quickly realized it was not her own), she vaguely remembered a jagged scar of her own that stretched from the corner of her eye to her hairline, one caused by her doppelganger--a creature that had mimicked her perfectly.* One thing she did not realize was that the scar had been healed long ago...how could she know when her memories had been stolen?
Sighing, Lurea took a last look at the golden field, whose hues were accentuated by the sunset. Who was this Lucinthe? Why were her own memories hazy and inaccessible, as though kept behind a locked door?
The final question was the most disturbing...if her own memories were not to be recalled, how did she know about the scar?
*Pages 5 and 6 in SB's Challenge
for more details of the attack