Disclaimer: I don't know own any characters or places you recognise; they belong to the lovely Trudi Canavan.
Summary: In which Akkarin finds a piece of Paradise during rest, whilst Sonea finds it in small memories of home.
A/N:*IMPORTANT* This was originally its own story but I've desided to move it here and make 'Dreams' my Drabble/One-shot collection because thats all these small things really are...
"Paradise is our native country, and we in this world be as exiles and strangers."-Richard Greenham.
There was sand between his toes.
He usually would have found this an annoyance yet in his situation and current position; it made him want to smile. The warm grainy technique was rough and scraped against the soft skin between his digits, scratching and pleasantly warm; he didn't mind it at all. He was getting used to it.
All slaves walked bared-footed and although he had been accustomed to his heavy leather boots, the change was adaptively welcome if not a little uncomfortable at times on harder terrain. In some ways, it made him feel little again, like a small child; running bare-feet across the beach, the sound of the waves crashing along the shore, the laughter of his brothers in his ears as they give chase…a gentle breeze singing through his cramped and sweaty toes, flexing and curling around blades of grass as the spring trickled behind him, his Guild boots resting on the rocks, Lorlen's disapproving sigh by his side…
"You! Little Magician, stop your day-dreaming and get moving or it will be punishment for you!"
He sighed and pushed himself to his feet, throwing his drenched shirt across his sun-burned shoulders, he rose from the shadows of the rocks, momentarily blinded by the bleak heat and rays of the sun. Dakova murmured angrily as he passed and cast him a hateful glance before gesturing with his hand that it was time for them to move on. He set off at a even pace with the rest of the slaves, Takan coming into step beside him, flashing him a weak smile.
He returned it good-heartedly and set his eyes before him, towards the waste's dry sands and uneven ground.
At least he was still alive.
Little specks of paradise were few and hard to find within the Wastelands of Sachaka, it was like trying to find a grain of gold in a sand-dune, yet he still found them. Dakova could not take them away from him and he knew that as long as he had his spirit, he would continue to find them.
The sand stunk between his toes, scraping roughly at his skin with each step he took, and once again he found himself smiling.
Her aunt was a wise woman.
Well, that was what she had always been told and it is often found that the wise are usually right.
Jonna told her to stay away from the groups of young boys that roughed about the slums, in her own words they were- "Dungheads and to-be capper's causing nothing but rum for those around them with their foolish nonsense!"
There was a time she had believed her and listened. Her aunt was a wise woman after all.
But then she fell in with a small gang of boys her age when she was ten and met Ceryni- "It's Cery just…"-who was so wild and free, childishly foolish yet brave and smart, who grew to be her best friend whom she cared for like family; she doubted her aunt had any wisdom worth listening to. She had never been as free before as she had been back then.
Together, Cery and her would run wildly through the slums at twilight, laughing, giggling, as they jumped from roof-to-roof, through alleyways and dark passages; for the simple fun of it, to feel to wind through their hair, to feel the mud sink into their boots, to feel the rain on their faces…many nights she returned home, soaked through to the bone, covered in mud and grime, smelling horrid and looking and feeling every part a little boy rather than the girl she was.
Jonna would go mad, shouting and cursing she would drag her by the ear to the bath by the unlit fire, where she would dunk her into cold water and scrub her until her skin was pink and heated.
Yet still she would return the night after to run with Cery and his friends, smiling and laughing, carelessly carefree, being children in a place where children truly didn't exist.
She would fly hand-in-hand with him, his warm and clammy in her cold and dirty one, over rooftops and streets, tears of childish delight in her eyes, thinking it was paradise it a world of dung.
But the dream soon ended.
Jonna had been right, of course. Wise woman always were.
She stopped meeting Ceryni.
She grew up. And so did he.
Yet when she meets him again, years later, she can't help but return his smile, seeing he too remembers the small piece of paradise they once held.
It was one thing no one could take from them and they would never forget it.
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