After the long trek, he passed out.
As he rested, the clouds assembled.
A silent rain fell sideways to relieve
the steppe; his captors slowed down
but did not linger. The land became
a bog in an instant, and the horses
struggled on in spite of the weather.
When he finally came to, he was dry.
The inside of a Yurt is like a home
cut out from the dream of existence.
Alone in the badlands one can feel
the whole planet slowly inching on.
A small woman was looking at him
intently. As he woke up in a haze,
first he saw her eyes. Fierce, quiet
almond-shaped mirrors of the soul.
They sat together in silence a while,
the prisoner wet and despondent,
the nomadic princess sitting erect,
looking through him, seemingly at
peace. Yet she was carrying a dark
pain in her heart, and nothing ever
could relieve her of that ghost, she
believed she had been cursed by evil.
She spoke to reassure him: “Stranger,
our ways would have me cut you open,
our traditions hold that you are a spy,
my father would have had you killed.”
“But my father is no more. He gave me
a name. I killed him, and gave myself
a new name. I am Dream-eater, ruler of
the roaming Saka people of this steppe.”
A yet smaller person came in, of very
fair complexion, with features alike
the princess. She was very short,
moving nimbly and quietly cat-like.
Another figure came in, a very young
man who glanced adoringly at the ruler,
and kept his head down, his muscles
resting, his eyes clear and steady.
“This is my sister, stranger. She knows
about all things, and she may yet find
you interesting. And this is my friend
and advisor, who is here to protect us
from bad weather, bad companions or so.
I trust these as family. Who then, is
your family? Where do you belong? Why
are you here? Why are you so afraid?”