A kingdom in crisis turns to desperate measures to heal their princess who has succumbed to a mysterious epidemic sweeping the realm.
It was the same kind of panic-filled nightmare I could remember occasionally experiencing as a child, the sort where you can't run fast enough, can't scream loud enough, and are just awake enough to know you are trapped, unable to rouse yourself from the terror. Though in those dreams, I would finally jerk awake with a strangled sob, sweaty and tangled in the bedclothes. Hearing my cry, my nursemaid, Ana would pad quickly to my bedside to hold and comfort me, stroke my cheek, and put everything back in order.
This dream was similar. I knew I was asleep, I knew I had to wake up, but the awakening never came. The dark stone hallway I ran though stretched endlessly into thick gloom in a horribly straight line. I would pass small circles of light from flickering candles or spluttering torches hung between softly billowing, thick tapestries, but I couldn't stop to remove one from its niche. Occasionally corridors would gape open blackly on either side, yawning in the night, but I could not veer off course. My run was painfully slow; adrenaline surged through me but I could only move like a beetle trying to swim through thick honey.
Sometimes, whatever I was running from got close enough that I could feel its labored breathing on my neck, hear its heavy, thunking footfalls. A scream would fill my throat, but it was unable to break through my lips in anything more than a hoarse whisper.
Though the feelings of horror never ceased, a small part of my brain remained lucid enough to keep me from descending into utter madness and despair. Through this tiny, sane window, I knew the great arched hallway was only a dream, that in reality I was perhaps only lying under a dark spell in the north tower. Maybe father's alchemist was hovering nearby while the Archbishop burned incense and tried to cast these devils from me. But then, though I had no grasp of the earthly passage of time, I knew I had been trapped here for too long. I was abandoned; given up for lost. I thought I could hear my mother weeping, and a door closing, even as I ran down my never ending hall. I knew then, it was done. I would never wake.