(This is what happens when we get sick.)

We Are Like Blue Flowers, Trying to Live

Aram was dreaming, he knew. Only in his dreams was he safe. Even after escaping the demons, life outside his mind was difficult at best. For the most part it was dangerous. Apart from the demons, the wilds held their own dangers. There were wild oni and other monsters that would love to feast on his soul or his body. There were plants that did the same to any who came too close.

Five months in the wilderness had taught him to keep moving. It had taught him not to trust even the most benign-looking area. What seemed a placid pool might turn out to be a trap laid by a beast or plant of the wilds. Nothing was what it seemed.

In his dreams he was safe though. His wings were whole and strong and he soared over the dangers that lay in wait on the ground. He nestled amidst the blue flowers that dotted the rocky cliffs of his father’s home. His older sister or brother were always nearby to watch him, to protect him.

He could feel himself rising out of the dream and he moaned, trying to stay safe in his mind. He couldn’t stop his body’s needs though, so against his will, Aram woke. He woke, as usual, in pain.

But I Want to Keep Believing that our Wishes Will Become Wings

It had always been too much to hope for, especially after the gate had been sealed. Any rescue mission would have been suicide, they had been told all those years ago. He’d given his son up for lost then. He’d lived for his remaining children. He and Shyrala had lived for each other and sealed their lost son away in their hearts as they had allowed him to be seal physically into another plane.

However, a small part of him had always wished that things could be different – that somehow they could have their child returned to the, if not unharmed at least alive. Now, though it meant dire things for all dragen-kind, it seemed his wish had been granted. His son was going to be returned to him.

Now he feared, as he flew with his mate and two older children, that the sweet little child he’d lost had been irrevocably changed by the beings that had taken him. He feared what he would find when they saw their son again. Would he know them? Would he have retained any of the innocence that had been in his soul when he was taken? He could only pray the boy of his memories was not entirely different from the wounded youngster found by the world gate sentinels.

As he flew his thoughts drifted back to that singular day; that had begun so like any other and had ended with such tragedy.