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Dreams Do Come True- A Pre-Joining Vignette

In her usual bedtime routine, Aislinn cast a rope of shimmery blue armor for herself. Aiden also cast a soft glowing strand of his protect spell that settled gently around her neck. Ari’s suggestion of magical sleeping protection had never actually worked to keep her nightmares at bay, but the now nightly ritual made her feel better.
She continued to be haunted by Mordok dreams, ever since she touched the idol while accompanying the caravan, and especially since she read the black Syndar’s journal. Despite her name meaning “dream,” her nightmares were nothing like the Phoenix Syndar’s normally sunny disposition.
With the new normal of trepidation, she closed her eyes.

She fell into her own dreamscape, already prepared for, though helpless against, the dark images of blood and Ulven child sacrifice. However, her dream-self settled into an unfamiliar white, misty fog instead.
She could make out vague shapes ahead, but every step she took towards them sent the images scurrying further away.
Sounds drifted past her.
“….travel across the sea….”
“She ran off with that human boy!…”
“….father was lost with the other ship…”
“…our populations are dwindling….”
“…eternal monogamy just isn’t sensible…”
“….ridiculous to leave to follow Anariel and that boy…”
She knew that voice.
These snippets of sound were accompanied by streaming flashes of red, yellow, and black; the colors of the Phoenix. The colors darkened and swirled past her, faster and faster, making her sick to her stomach, before dumping her back into unconsciousness, though not before she had the feeling that something terrible was about to happen.

The day of the joining ceremony dawned bright and early. As usual, by the time she finished dressing for the day, Aislinn’s nightmares had long faded away. Her fear and exhaustion were replaced by her happy and blissfully oblivious nature.
The Phoenix women busied themselves preparing Onsalla’s Outpost, far, far away from Fire Isle, for the festivities. Cici happily murmured, “Sometimes dreams do come true,” as she arranged a bundle of White Blossoms, referring to her own joining bliss and her assuredness that Aislinn’s joining to Aiden would have the same happy beginning. Aislinn frowned for only a moment at the comment.
While she placed the rings into the ceremony display, Aislinn dimly heard the usual challenge of the gate guard in the background, asking the identities of those who approached.
The answering reply, however, caused the pointy-eared Phoenix to spin around in shock and more than a little dismay, as she squeaked, “MOTHER?!”
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