Jump, Star eyes. You have to jump. To another time, another place. Ciri did not understand, but struggled to. She made every effort to understand. She concentrated, concentrated while whispers and blood pounded in her ears... Lightning flashed. And then, suddenly it was dark soft blackness. Distantly she heard Ihuarraquax neigh his alarm as voices and the sound of drawn swords erupted around her, and then the noise was gone and consciousness left Cirilla Fiona Elen Riannon.

Mirri Maz Duur sat quietly in her temple, only the sound of distant sheep disturbing the sanctuary of the temple. It was rare that she had any time to herself. Not only was she this villages' only Priestess, but its only healer, midwife and perhaps even protector. It was rare that there wasn't one or two villagers waiting patiently for her attention or a situation requiring her down in the village. She sipped her goat's milk from her wooden mug, the faint smell of incense filling her nostrils. Despite her apparent comfort though, Mirri Maz Duur's mind was ablaze with the vision she had received from the Great Shepherd the night before.

She had dreamt of a three headed dragon flying alongside a huge stallion as big as the dragon itself. Underneath them was the earth, trembling as their paws and hoofs trampled on huge cities, leaving devastation in their wake. Atop of the dragon rode a young, beautiful woman with silver hair and madness in her eyes. Behind the dragon and stallion rode tens of thousands of horses, their manes alight and their eyes a deep cruel red, spit dripping from their mouths. The screams of men, women and children alike echoed through the air to the apparent delight of the dragon and stallion.

The Gods had sent her this vision for a reason, but Mirri Maz Duur did not yet know its true meaning. No doubt, that meaning would become apparent in time, and perhaps it could be averted. If the Great Shepherd willed it, it could be, and His Flocks could wander the earth in peace.

As if to spite her thoughts, a sudden crack filled the air, blasting the peaceful temple with an enormous snap. Her cup fell to the floor as Mirri Maz Duur leapt to her feet in surprise, clutching at her chest. Had the weather changed so suddenly, from a warm day to a sudden storm? Such things were rare, but not unexpected, although normally she would have been able to know such a storm was coming. She strode to the door, expecting to see the shepherds moving their massive flocks of sheep and goats together so as to ensure they not flee into the Dothraki Sea. Yet as she stepped outside, the sky was clear, the sun shining down on them all with not a sign of a cloud in the sky. Her brow creased into confusion as she turned to look down into the village for any sign of what happened. Other women had stepped outside their homes as well to look outside, but none seemed to know the answer either.

Perhaps it was nothing, Mirri Maz Duur considered to herself as she stepped back into the cool temple.

That thought lasted barely twenty more peaceful minutes before the doors of her temple opened and a gaggle of men and women ran inside her temple. Mirri Maz Duur looked up in surprise as a body was placed onto her table and a babble of voices began to speak. She raised her hands for silence as she stood and approached the wooden table, lightly pushing through the crowd to where the body had been placed. As she saw the figure, her eyebrows raised in surprise.

A young woman, a teenager in truth, lay unconscious before her. She paused in sudden shock as she regarded the figure. Long silver hair, deep green eyes, a pale complexion and to tip it all off, a vicious scar that was half healed that cut down her right eye. The girl was a natural beauty, Mirri Maz Duur saw that instantly, and it immediately made her think of her vision. Had the Great Shepherd sent her this vision to coincide right before this girl's arrival? Her hands began to tremble by her sides, and she clenched them into fists to stop their shaking. Had the Great Shepherd sent her to Mirri Maz Duur to prevent the dream from happening? The vision had clearly showed a woman, very similar to the one in front of her, causing war and blood across the world in front of her. But was it this girl? At first glance, it seemed obvious. They had the same hair, same figure, but the scar? That hadn't been present in the vision.

Would the Great Shepherd be so cruel as to have her kill in his name? She had killed before, but never wanted to again. Was this another test? Did she dare do nothing?

Her thoughts were interrupted by a groan. The girl murmured and shifted, but that was the extent of it. Mirri Maz Duur immediately snapped at one of the women to bring her medicines to her, putting aside all thoughts of murder and began to examine her. A brief investigation of the girl revealed several things. She had clearly been in a fight. Her body was black and blue, and there were certainly some severely bruised ribs. As she checked the girl, she half listened to the explanation of where the girl had come from. According to some shepherds, they had been watching their flocks when thunder had cracked the skies, and a girl had come falling from the heavens onto the sky. That at least might partially explain the bruises.

With another word, she sent all the men out of the room as she began to take off the girl's clothing. They were rich clothes, she noted to herself. Certainly nothing that came from around here. The stitching was beautiful, and unlike anything she herself had worn before. The girl had likely come from the city of Lys, the infamous city of pleasure and love. She certainly had the physical appearance of a native. The silver hair, and the pale skin gave it away. Only the natives of Lys had that appearance in this land. Perhaps a noble? A brief check of her hands proved her wrong. They were hands accustomed to physical work. Not a pleasure slave then. Perhaps a daughter of a noble? In any case, it certainly didn't explain why she was here in the land of the Great Shepherd. Perhaps she had been taken or given to a Dothraki horde, and escaped? Yet the shepherds story suggested otherwise, and none would lie to her. She had no horse, yet she carried a longsword similar to those worn in the distant continent of Westeros.

The woman returned with her medicine. Reaching into her bag, Mirri Maz Duur pulled out a vial of Milk of the Poppy, one of the last that Maestor Marwyn had brewed for her before she departed. Perhaps it was a waste better used on a woman during her pregnancy, but right now she needed the girl painless and sleeping. The girl didn't resist, gulping it down to Mirri Maz Duur's satisfaction. It took barely a few seconds before her deep green eyes fell into slumber. At that moment, Mirri Maz Duur decided on a course of action. She would not commit murder while she had any doubt in her mind, even if the Great Shepherd demanded it of her. She would put the girl into a private chamber meant for a pregnant woman, and once she had decided what to do, then, and only then would she make a decision.

Ciri awoke to pitch black, Geralt's name on her lips. Her lips were terribly dry, and a bitter taste was in her mouth. Slowly, she opened her eyes, allowing them to adjust to the darkness. Listening intently, she determined that she was alone in the room. She groaned as quietly as she could as she attempted to rise from her bed, only to fall back. Her body hadn't felt so weak since the first days of training at Kaer Morhen. Robbed of the ability to walk, she turned instead to look around the room. It was small and had only a mattress which Ciri lay on. No window was present in the room, and the only evidence that any light penetrated this world came from a burned out candle near to her bed. In the corner was a large chamber pot, while thankfully lying next to her head was a jug of water and a small clay cup. She eagerly poured and drank deeply as the sweet nectar filled her throat and rushed into her belly. Gasping with relief, she poured herself another and began to drink, more slowly this time, as her mind began to work.

The last thing she remembered was attempting to escape the world of the Aen Elle with her companion, Ihuarraquax. There had been shouting and the sounds of swords before she had fallen unconscious. Had she done it? Had she escaped the Aen Elle or had she been recaptured?

Frowning, Ciri looked around the room. If she had been retaken, she thought slowly, then she was no longer in the palace. Had they taken her to a prison, a real one this time? Her mind briefly flashed back to the choking body of the Aen Elle High King as he died in her arms before she forced it back into the present. Her mind fully engaged, she began to take in the little details as Geralt had taught her in what seemed like an eternity ago. Her sleeping body was no longer covered by sweet smelling linen sheets but by a dusty animal cover, likely made from a sheep. Similarly, Ciri noted as she felt an irritating itch, the mattress she lay upon was made of straw, not feathers. She certainly wasn't in the rooms granted to her on her arrival in the world of the Aen Elle, at least.

There was only one way to find out where she was, Ciri determined as she threw the furs aside to place her feet on the ground. She winced as she suddenly felt a sharp pain on her chest. She gently placed one of her fingers to where the pain was, flinching as even that light touch caused pain. One of her ribs was damaged, most likely caused by her flight from Eredin and his pursuing Wild Hunt. The night was cold, but not so cold that she needed to be fully dressed. She grabbed the fur blanket that she had discarded on the ground and wrapped it around her body before slowly; Ciri eased herself out of the bed.

At least it was only her ribs, Ciri thought gratefully as she stood up. Had her ankle or foot been hurt, she would be on the floor already. Of course if she'd been a Witcher or a Sorceress then she wouldn't have to worry about her injury at all. Instead she'd have to let it heal naturally without the aid of any potions or spells. For all the Aen Elle had talked about her powers as a Child of the Elder Blood, they didn't seem worth that much if she couldn't even use a basic spell like healing. They would have especially come in useful when her face had been slashed open by the bounty hunter Bonhart only a few weeks ago.

As quietly as she could, Ciri approached the doorway and tentatively placed her hand on the doorknob, the other hand clutching at her blanket as she slowly pulled the door open. To her surprise, the door didn't even put up any resistance, and to her even greater surprise no one was waiting for her outside of the room. Were the Aen Elle that confident that she couldn't escape again that they left her as unguarded as they had the first time she fell into their hands?

Perhaps it wasn't a prison after all, but if not then where was she? And where was Ihuarraquax? Had he abandoned her? And if he had, then how was she to get home without the Aen Elle immediately sensing the use of her powers? Had she even managed to use her powers correctly the first time to get her and Ihuarraquax away? Or had something gone wrong. Ciri crept quietly down the corridor as she followed the soft breeze that flowed through the building. The building itself was as silent as anything she could remember. Only the faintest sound of the wind and the scuffle of her bare feet on the floor served to remind her that she had not gone deaf. The walls around her were made of a strange brown and yellow stone that was rough to the touch, the colouring looked as if it were from the desert itself, Ciri decided. Statues, both large and small, were present every few paces. Strangely enough all of them were made in the images of rams, ewes and lambs. It was already clear based on the statues alone that this was no prison, although what it was Ciri had no idea. The corridor finally ended in front of two doors, each connected to each other. It was there that the breeze was strongest. Ciri slowly reached for the door, her heart pounding as she prepared to open it. What would she see when she opened the door, would it be a new strange world filled with exotic and wondrous creatures, or would it be the beautiful, yet dreaded sight of the city of the Elle Aen with its almost debauched sense of luxury? As she opened the door, the sight that confronted her was almost insultingly mundane.

A small village lay before her eyes, perhaps capable of holding some fifty people. The smell of sheep dung lingered in the air, evidenced by the sound of sheep cries echoing through the air. It was night time, and a full moon cast its pale light on the land. For miles around, there was nothing but a flat plain around, occasionally hindered by small mounds. A few small lights flickered in the distance, no doubt shepherds huddling around their fires keeping an eye on the flocks in case of wolves or whatever creatures existed in the plains.

Ciri began to walk through the village, her hands holding the furs against her body as she began to shiver slightly as the cold became more intense the longer she stayed outside. Everything was silent in around her, straw huts dark and quiet as its people presumably slept through the night. It was perhaps midnight, if her senses were still right. When she reached the outskirts of the village, she turned to look behind her. The village clearly surrounded the large stone building which she had left. The village seemed to have been built around the building, although here and there indentures indicated that perhaps once the village had been larger and grander than it appeared now.

Feeling aches on her feet; Ciri sat on one of the stones. Clearly she wasn't on the Elle Aen world anymore. Although she had not seen much of the vast city which she had been held in, she had the sense that in everything they did, the Elle Aen made every effort to make everything they did appear luxurious and imposing. Here, the village appeared quaint and a backwater that they would never live in. It could be that the people here were the slaves of the Elle Aen, but in that case why would have they placed her here, and not returned to her prison to be used as their plaything until she bore them a child to use as they wished? Was this another elaborate trick of the Aen Elle? Perhaps they were watching her now, laughing among themselves at the stupid human who thought herself safe from them. But did that match what she knew of them?

Think, Ciri, think, she urged herself. Use your mind and consider whether this fits in with how the Aen Elle liked to operate. With the death of their king though, who knows how things might have changed. Certainly, this wasn't something that Eredin was capable of. He was more of a brute, a man who liked to fight and would pursue the simplest option first. If he had caught her, she wouldn't be given any illusion of freedom, she would be in a cell, trousers down to her ankles and bent over until she pushed out enough children before having her throat slit.

Avallac'h then? It was certainly possible. The unicorns had told her that he was nicknamed the 'Fox', suggesting that he was capable of long term planning and much subtlety. Could this be his doing? Perhaps she was imagining all of this, lost in a pleasant daze inside of her mind while they took what they needed from her. Perhaps she was indeed on another world under his supervision, granting her the illusion of freedom for some purpose. How could she know?

But then, perhaps Ihuarraquax had saved her after all, depositing her onto a world before luring the Wild Hunt after him, leaving her safe. It might explain why her companion wasn't with her. But if that was the case, how long was Ciri safe before the Wild Hunt burst through the planes of reality and took her back in chains to the world of the Aen Elle.

Unwillingly, tears began to form in her eyes and she angrily dragged a knuckle across them before they dared to fall. She couldn't think like this, she had to keep her thoughts on the present before she could linger on the past. It was no good trying to solve something which had already happened, what was important now was to try and find the best way forward. FOr starters, how long had she been asleep, where was she, and perhaps most importantly how could she get back to her own world where Geralt and Yennefer were?

A noise behind her made her whirl, her fists clenched in front of her as she adopted a stance Lambert had taught her years ago during her brief training as a Witcher years ago. All emotion was removed and only the battle trance remained. With no sword, she wouldn't take any with her into whatever afterlife existed, but she swore she would make whoever it was would remember the day they tried to fight a Witcher. Unconscious of the fact her fur blanket slipped from her shoulders without her grasp to hold it in place, Ciri was prepared for anything that came at her. Except perhaps for a fussy middle aged woman.

Ciri was almost immediately enveloped by her fur blanket as a large bulky figure clucked at her in an anxious and low pitched voice. The woman grabbed Ciri gently but firmly by the arm and quick marched her back towards the large stone building, half supporting and half carrying her back towards the large temple. The figure, a woman by the light of the candle which she held in her hand, didn't speak to Ciri, but marched in silence, ignoring Ciri's protestations. The woman was flat-nosed and rather bullish looking, yet her eyes and mouth indicated that there was a warmness to the woman. Still unsure of what was happening, Ciri still allowed herself to slightly as she felt her body threaten to fail on her.

The woman all but pushed her back into her bed and folded the furs back onto her, tucking her firmly into bed. Disappearing for a brief moment, she returned with a cup and pushed it into Ciri's hands. Ciri hesitantly sipped the drink, frowning slightly at the bitter salty taste. Yet it was warm and felt good in her belly, and she eagerly drank more despite its taste. The woman smiled and patted Ciri on the back as she took the empty cup from Ciri's unresisting hands.

"Thank you," Ciri hoarsely spoke to the woman. "Thank you for the drink," she repeated after coughing experimentally. Ciri smiled at the woman who she could now see in the light of the candle. Lit by the dim light, Ciri could see the woman's face properly for the first time. The woman was in truth rather ugly. Her nose was flat and her lips strangely thin on a pudgy face. She looked as though she could hold her own in any sponsored fights that took place in inns. "My name is Ciri, what's your name?"

The woman shrugged at Ciri's word as she glanced over Ciri's bandages that covered her upper torso.

"Ciri, my name is Ciri." This time she tried to be as obvious as she could in case the woman didn't speak her language. She pointed at herself as she repeated her name. "What is your name?" She pointed at the woman, hoping that she would understand.

The woman cocked an eyebrow at her, slight amusement on her battered face. "My name, Ciri, is Mirri Maz Duur. You are a Westerosi then?"

"Westerosi?" Ciri repeated, a slight frown marring her eyebrows. Miri Maz Duur nodded. Before she was able do anything else though, Ciri involuntarily yawned. The woman, Mirri, immediately reacted by lightly pushing Ciri's head onto the straw that served as a pillow.

"Sleep, child, your body must heal."

"Thank you," Ciri murmured as she allowed her eyes to close.

Mirri Maz Duur closed the door behind her silently and returned to her room, a large grimace marring her features. The child - no, Ciri - had awoken after two days of unconsciousness.

She was thankful that she had taken the two days to consider her actions, after much consideration Mirri had finally decided to not kill Ciri in her sleep. For now, she would watch and consider the actions she would take while she recovered amongst the village. If this Ciri did something that concerned her, then she was resolved to end the girl's life as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Besides that, the girl was most interesting to her, in particular the sword that one of the shepherds had brought to her not long after she had put Ciri into her private room. The shepherd had told her that it came with the girl. The sword was something that she had never seen before, much like the clothes she had been wearing. Mirri Maz Duur had travelled much of the world in her youth, she had travelled to apprentice with the Shadow Binders of Asshai, the Maesters of the Citadel and others beside, yet she had never seen a weapon like this. The weapon was all but perfect in its appearance. It shone enough that Mirri Maz Duur could even see her own face in its reflection, yet traces of blood on the sword pointed towards its recent use. Had the girl stolen the weapon from some place, fleeing from some mysterious foe? Who was this girl?

Mirri Maz Duur shook her head in bewilderment. The girl was a contradiction in nearly everything, and none of that besides explained how the girl had ended up in the village in the first place. Her mind finally decided, she walked towards her makeshift table where several crows croaked at her, eager to be allowed to fly freely. She cooed at them absentmindedly as she pulled out some of her precious parchment and a quill. If there was ever a time to use the rare material, she thought as she began to write, then it may as well be now. If she didn't know, then perhaps her old teachers could offer an answer.

And if they couldn't...well wouldn't that just be interesting.