Eryka winced as Healer Tresten applied the hot bandages on her skin. The wound still hadn't healed. She might loose and arm if it stayed open. The healers tried to keep infections away, but Eryka didn't think they were helping at all. Each night she grew more afraid to go to sleep, afraid she wouldn't wake up, afraid she would dream.
"Keep this on for 2 hours and say a few prayers in the chapel." Tresten said when he was done. Eryka spit him in the face and turned away to the fire. Behind her back Tresten stood still, staring angrily at her. She could feel it. All her senses had grown more sensitive since the dreams had started. She knew she shouldn't take her anger out on him, but then he was only there because he was the best and she was the princess. She was the heir to the throne and she needed to wed in 7 days. 
~How I love my life.~ She thought bitterly and threw some herbs in the fire to replace the smell of her wound.
She sat down on her bed and knew the fight was lost. She hadn't slept for 3 days and now she was too tired to fight back the luring call of night.

She was, and not alone, others were around her, trying to catch her. She looked back and saw them. Men and Women all around her, flying without wings. Not many flew together, like they were somhow bigger than they actually were in her dream. It was all very confusing, but she knew she shouldn't get caught...not any time soon anyway...

Eryka woke up, breathing heavily. She had had another dream. Why were they all so fuzzy when she woke? She curled up beneath the bedsheets and held herself tightly.
Why did the dreams always make her feel so alive? She felt worse every time she woke, yet she couldn't deny the dreams were wonderful. She hadn't even thought they might be dangerous, but once she had fallen and hurt her arm. When she had woken, her skin was badly burnt, with blisters oozing pus. After that she had gotten a bit more careful.
She knew the dreams were somehow real, and life for her there was better than any life she had here.
Soft knocks on the door asked for her attention.
"What?" she yelled.
"Your father asks your presence at breakfast in half an hour My Lady." The servant said, bowing deeper than she held possible. He was ugly and fat, almost bursting out of his serving clothes.
"I shall attend." she said sweetly.
The servant closed the door before the glass of sleeping wine she flung at him could hit him. She yelled out in frustration when she saw it miss.

She walked through the hallway, running and jumping at every pace. She was happy, young, vibrant and very alive. Candles burned every 5 feet and mirrors reflected their light making the hallway almost etherical.
She looked right and saw a hundred more of her walking and jumping and racing by. SOme looked like her, others were taller, smaller, uglier, prettier. Some were human, some were not, yet she was all of them...

"Eryka!" Her father said and pinched her bad arm. She nearly screamed out in agony as the flesh twitched and cracked. She looked up at him, tears in her eyes.
"It isn't fitting for a princess to daydream at breakfast with her husband to be." He said, "nor should she cry, I made you a very good arrangement, sure Sernel is a bit older than you and he isn't the handsomest man alive, but he's a decent man."
She nearly cried out all her thoughts at that moment, but somehow she could refrain herself. Sernel was an old lord of 55, while she was 18, hardly a small difference, he was old and grey, likely to die soon anyway. And as for decent, he was said to kill a newborn every month for some witch that kept him alive. Maybe that rumor wasn't through, but still...
She listened, staring at her plate how her fiancÚ was talking about supply runs and how every youth was out to decieve him.

Suddenly she was at a lake. It was full summer. The temperature was high, the lake pleasantly cool. She slipped in and dove under, feeling the water close above her wings...

She didn't have wings. Carefully she looked back and felt her shoulders. No wings there. Then why had she felt them?
"My Lady, what are you doing?" Old Sernel asked.
"Nothing My Lord, "she had the wits to answer, "My braid was coming loose."
That explanation sufficed and she was left to her pondering again.

She rose out of the water, it was cold now, with snow and ice. She looked back. The wings were there. Soft transparent green-glowing wings. Awed she looked at her reflection in the water. She was taller and whiter than she recalled, with better looks and a slimmer body.

A dark blue creature whirled before her, darting and tumbling in the air. She laughed and followed it. Her legs felt powerful enough to run around the entire world, her musceles stretched and bowed as never before. She was in harmony then.
She didn't want to leave at all. She giggled, then why not stay here? Why would she ever go back to her old life? Where she would be forced to marry and bare children, where she would most likely loose an arm and her freedom?

"Eryka!!!!" her father shouted in utter fear as he saw his daughter collapse from her chair. But Eryka wasn't there anymore. She still breathed, she still looked out into the world...

"Little critter! Wait up!" Eryka shouted.
The little blue animal had flown higher then she could go, farther then she could see. How would she find it again? Suddenly it flitted back at the edge of the horizon. It seemed to wink for her.
"I'm coming!!!"
She tried her best to get there, but her legs were too slow. Finally the critter flew back and tugged her wings.
~Could I?~ She thought.
She tried to feel her wings, to move them...and yes, they started taking her into the sky. The moment of euphoria was so intense she nearly fell, forgetting to stay thinking of her wings...

"The deep sleep, My lord." Tresten said.
"Just like her mother...I've lost all now." he said, weeping over the body of his child. His child and a shapeshifter. His wife had been one...she had escaped him eventually too, but he had always hoped his daughter might not find her hidden heritage. Once they had left their bodies for good, they wouldn't come back though. He knew that.
Softly he made his way down the steps to the cellar, carrying his child. How light she was without a soul...
"Eryka, meet your mother." he whispered and sat her beside an elder woman, much in the same state as herself.
"Goodbye my sweet..."
He turned back and looked upon the men he had brought.
"It is time, burn it."

Something was horribly wrong. She smelled burning flesh and felt it creeping on her body. How could she be on fire? What had they done to her? Somehow she knew her father was to blame.
~He never loved me anyway~ She wept and fell, ever deeper...

"Goodday girl."
"Where am I?" Eryka asked.
"She stumbeled out of the bed and looked out the window, seeing a site she had never seen before...flying dragons."
She felt her shoulders...her wings were gone. She looked in a mirror, she was plain old Eryka again. But one day she might fly again.
"Can I have a dragon?" she asked.
"Only if they choose you I'm afraid, but you can try, there are lots of eggs."


Eryka stood on the sands, the long white robe making it painfully clear she didn't have wings anymore. She looked at the eggs, hoping one of them would be hers. A bright green dragon tumbled out of her egg. She made a funny noise as she hit the ground and a big cloud of red dust covered her colours. It itched on her wings. Eryka knew she had to clean them off, but she didn't have wings anymore. Sad and confused she looked around until she saw the little dusty red dragon that was coming towards her.
Eryka crouched, wiping off the dust. The colours beneath were green and white.
Thank you Eryka. I am Kyrenath." The dragon said.
Her heart had wings again...



Weeks passed and became months. Kyrenath grew fast and She and Eryka were often seen flying around the Weyr.
"Try North Kyrenath, that lake has got to be around here somewhere." Eryka said.
"Ok, but no other dragon has ever seen a lake around here."
"There has to be, I think I flew in from the South."
"Maybe it was there long agao, or it will be there in the future."
That concluded another one of their searches for the lake. Kyrenath landed flawlessly in the weyrbowl and Eryka climbed down. Jumping would be faster, but she didn't want to risk breaking a leg. Kyrenath wasn't big for a dragon. One could only assume that white in her made her stay relatively small. Kyrenath crouched down, looking at her rider.
"What are you doing?"
"Wishing you'd scratch my horns."
"You can just ask."
"Yeah, but that takes the fun out of it."
Eryka shrugged, whoever could fully understand a dragon had her admiration. Scratching Kyrenaths horns and oiling her skin she felt at home, a sensation she hadn't had since she was little.
"You are my home." she told Kyrenath.
"I don't have a roof, how can I be your home?"
"You're smarter than that, you are what makes me happy."
Kyrenath laughed. "I knew that, but I wanted to hear you say it."


Eryka felt it, something was brushing against her, something long and pointy. It felt soft and warm, but it wasn't part of her sheets, nor her body, unless she had grown claws in the night, but she was pretty sure her shifting days were over. At least they had gotten her Kyrenath...
The long pointy things came closer and Eryka slowly awoke, adding some basic facts together.
"Kyrenath, get your horns away, it's still night." she mumbled and turned herself deeper under her covers.
"It's day." her dragon told her.
"I don't see light."
Suddenly the cover was pulled up and two big eyes looked under it. Light poured in, but that wasn't what Eryka had her eyes on.
"You're going to poke my eyes out with those horns someday."
"I won't, I know exactly how far I can go, you know where your fingers are." Kyrenath replied.
"Yes, but I still hurt them on these walls, because I don't know where they are!"
"That's why dragons are better."
Eryka grinned. "No, that's because they have wings and don't talk."
"I talk!" her dragon sounded hurt.
"I didn't mean it that way, you just don't make much noise."
"I can roar!" Kyrenath said and woke up the entire Weyr.
"Shhh, I believe you!" Eryka said and hoped no-one would know who had woken them all up.
"It's almost noon, no-one is sleeping."
"oh, ok."
Kyrenath lay her head on the bed, slightly squishing it down. Eryka sat up and let her eyes adjust to the light.
"What are we going to do today?"
"Aren't riders supposed to know?"
"If you think you are better, why don't you tell me?"
"Can I?" the face Kyrenath made was to die for. Her head tilted slightly back and her eyes swirled blue and green with pleasure, but a light tinge of disbelieve remained in her thoughts.
"I want to Rise."
"ok, not what I had expected... where?"
"I know of a place."

Eryka impressed at the Ryslen Flurry 2002