Gray mist swirled around Elayne’s ankles as she looked from side to side in an effort to figure out where she was exactly. The landscape that she could see under foot was unknown to her and she was sure that even if she could make out more she would have no idea where she was.
She quickly became aware of one thing. She was dreaming. She also realized that she was being manipulated in some way because she wasn’t in her own dream as she should have been. So she did her best to keep up her natural defenses that she had been developing under Serena’s tutelage, but it was hard to get her bearings because of the mist.
She tried to return to her own dreams as Serena had taught her, but when nothing happened she knew that whoever had brought her here had a great deal of power. Now all she could do was wait and see what happened next.
It was dark around her. She could barely make out the mist at her feet and she had to push thoughts out of her mind that she would be trapped here, maybe for eternity. If that were the case, was there anything to do to get away? What about her body in the real world? Had someone else taken over it and was now with the man that she loved, pretending to be her? Was it the girl they sought?
Elayne felt herself going into a panic and forced her mind to clear. She closed her eyes and allowed her thoughts to drift, waiting for whomever it was that had brought her here to show themselves. She didn’t have to wait long.
“Well, well, well,” a young female voice protruded into her thoughts. “Looks like you are stronger than I’d first thought.”
Elayne opened her eyes and found herself looking into the eyes of the girl she had been protecting Scott from. Only a few feet separated the two of them and Elayne had to fight her natural urge to lash out both physically and magickally at the other woman.
“Your audacity astounds me,” Elayne found herself saying to the girl calmly. “How dare you bring me here.” She knew that she shouldn’t stir the girl up too much, but she wasn’t about to kow-tow to her either.
“My audacity?” the girl asked through a sharp laugh. “It is your audacity that has put you in this place.”
Elayne frowned, knowing the girl was extremely unpredictable. “What do you mean?” she asked, hoping to keep her talking long enough so that she could find a way out of the dream.
The girl raised her eyebrows questioningly. “Isn’t it you who is trespassing into my territory?” she asked, her gaze narrowing as she glared at Elayne accusingly. “Isn’t it you who has been cavorting around with my man? How dare you treat me like I’m the one in the wrong.”
The situation was quickly becoming very dangerous. Elayne began to look around, trying to find something, anything that could help her escape while continuing to appear calm. “What do you want?” she asked, attempting to buy herself more time.
“Oh, I think we both know what I want,” the girl said as she crossed her arms over her chest. “The question is, what to do with you when I have it.”
“Why are you doing this?” Elayne asked. She knew it was stupid to ask, but she had to know.
“Because Scott and I belong together,” she stated simply.
Elayne couldn’t find anything around that could help her, not even a tree branch or anything that she could use to knock the girl out with. She wasn’t sure if it would do her any good, but it was sure as hell worth a shot. “Don’t you think that Scott should have some say in the matter?” she asked.
“Don’t cloud the issue with legalities,” the girl scoffed. “You’re here so that I can prove to the gods that you are unworthy of him.”
Unworthy, Elayne thought to herself, wondering what kind of pacts the girl was making and somehow knowing they couldn’t be good ones. “What do you hope to prove in this?” Elayne asked. Her voice was high and it was apparent even to herself that she was scared, but there was nothing she could do to hide it. “I love Scott. I would give my life for him.”
The girl’s eyes narrowed at this and she took a few steps forward until mere inches separated the two women. “Get one thing straight,” she hissed through clenched teeth. “Scott is mine and I will do whatever it takes to make sure it’s me that wakes next to him. Enjoy the time you have left because it could very well be your life that you forfeit.”
She stepped back again and raised her hand to reveal a glowing orb that rested in her palm. Elayne quickly raised her arms to protect herself as the girl threw the orb in her direction and it exploded in the air, inches from her head.
Remember the name Ravenmyst, Elayne heard in her mind as she woke from the dream with a start, drenched in sweat. Thankfully Scott slept peacefully on the other side of the bunk and she hadn’t woke him as well. Quietly, she rose from the bed and donned her robe. A quick look at the clock said that it was almost four in the morning and she knew that there would be no more rest for her that night.
She quietly went to the front of the bus and sat on one of the couches, trying to figure out what to do as she watched the skyline pass by. The sun rose over the trees about an hour later and she still wasn’t sure what to do next. They would arrive in Casper that morning and she prayed she could stop the girl; she now had a name for, in time.
“I really hope that Ronnie feels better,” Elayne told Scott as he led her to a private dining room in the back of the hotel’s main restaurant the next evening. “Maybe we should check on him before we eat.”
“He’ll be fine,” Scott assured her for the third time that evening as he silently prayed that her natural mothering instincts didn’t take over before he managed to actually get her in to the dining room. The fact was that Ronnie wasn’t sick at all. Scott had only told Elayne that so he could get her downstairs alone for her surprise.
Everything had been so hectic with trying to find out more about the girl that Elayne had completely forgotten about her birthday. Scott hadn’t known it was coming up, either, until Connie’s phone call a few days earlier had clued him in. Her friends back home were sad that they couldn’t spend the day with her like they normally did, but they wanted to make sure that Scott knew so that he could help Elayne celebrate.
Ever since he had secretly been planning a small party for her that evening after the group had finished the press events they had to do. Ronnie and the others had really come through for him since Scott tried to spend most of his free time with Elayne and it was the four of them that actually took care of the party details.
“Was someone getting him dinner?” Elayne asked as she looped her arm through Scott’s. Her mind was still caught up in her dream from the previous night, which she hadn’t told Scott about it yet, nor did she have any intentions of doing so. He would only worry and there was nothing that he could do about it anyhow.
“Don’t worry,” Scott said as he smiled at her mischievously, and then kissed her cheek. “I’ve never known Ronnie to miss a meal, regardless of whether he’s healthy or half dead.”
“Scott that’s not funny,” Elayne scolded with a smile of her own that she tried to hide. She had to admit that she now knew Ronnie well enough to know what Scott said was true, but she couldn’t suppress her desire to make sure that he was okay. “You guys have to perform tomorrow and you only have one drummer.”
“He’ll be fine,” Scott repeated as he slipped his arm around her waist and reached for the door to the dining room with the other. “What are you in the mood for? Italian? Mexican?” He turned so that he was using his body to shield Elayne’s gaze until they were fully into the room, while his questions distracted her enough so that she didn’t realize the rest of the band and crew already occupied the space.
“Surprise,” they cried out as Ronnie and Ollie wheeled a huge cake in front of the now shocked Elayne and everyone burst into a totally off key rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’.
Elayne glanced over at Scott in astonishment, completely taken aback as she suddenly remembered what day it was. Scott hugged her to him tightly as he whispered, “Happy Birthday, honey,” in her ear and kissed her cheek.
“Hurry up and blow out those candles,” Raoul said as everyone clapped. “I’m starting to get burned over here.”
“Ha, ha. Very funny,” Scott countered good-naturedly. “Just remember that you’re only three months younger than Elayne.”
The other man winced at the reminder, then winked at Elayne as she positioned herself to blow out the candles. She almost got all of them in one breath and when they were finally out she thanked everyone for being there, then put her arms around Scott’s neck and kissed his cheek.
“I’d totally forgotten,” she told him in a quiet voice as the party continued around them. “Thank you.”
“Anything for the woman I love,” Scott replied just before his mouth covered hers.
Over the course of the next few hours Elayne was able to forget about the immediate danger involving the girl. In the short amount of time that she had spent with the tour she had come to know everyone and she was overjoyed by the effort they had all taken to make her birthday special, especially since she was so far from home.