The cabin in the woods had been abandoned for years, but one night, a candle burned in the window. Kilara knew this dilapidated, forsaken place well. She had visited it many times in her visions of an uncertain world she was aware she would not see in her living years.
Never, in any of her previous visions, had a wick been lit in the window. She wondered briefly what would be different in this day’s vision. What was it she needed to see here?
A violent wind suddenly swept through the wooden slates of the window, whistling through the room and blowing out the little flame struggling to cast its light into the darkness. It whistled loudly through the cracks in the door before howling and screechng around the room.
Kilara’s body laying in her devan flinched and lifted slightly off the intricately embroidered down-filled hides beneath her. Her eyes remained closed; her mind fully focused on the image inside.
The young Dragon Watcher flinched at the noise as well. He moved forward in the darkness to ignite the wick again. Pulling out an aged piece of wood from the satchel at his waist, he scraped his long fingernail across it several times until it sparked and caught at the waxed wick, lighting up the space before him.
He had been searching for a place to rest before the much puffed-up cloud dragon he was following opened and let loose a torrent upon him when he had seen this little place nearly hidden along the edge of the path he was on.
No one had answered his calls, so he had pushed through the cracked wooden doors and entered the uninhabited room. It was darker inside than he had thought, the blackness around him so deep, he could not even see the walls. He had pulled out a waxed wick from his satchel and lit it by the window.
Trying to ignore the fathomless dark, he unrolled the thin devan he always carried on his back and started to spread it on the floor by the lit candle. He felt a warmth on his lower left calf and looked down. There was nothing touching him. An uneasiness settled over him and he looked around again. Nothing but black. He had thought he sensed a presence earlier, but after looking around, he had discovered no creatures of any kind in the dark room. His master had told him he was too sensitive. Perhaps he was. But in a world where Dragon Watchers were few and dying out, and cloud dragons were appearing less and less, he had practiced hard and honed his senses so he could find the dragons more easily.
He settled down onto the devan, his arms raised and folded beneath his head as he tried to clear his mind of his thoughts before sleep took him. He felt the warmth again on his lower leg, but before he could look, a shadow rushed up his legs and torso to hover over his body.
His scream caught in his throat, coming out as a stuffed up gasp as if someone had covered the sound with a hand on his mouth.
The shadow was shaped like a female, but there was no real substance to her. He attempted to move his arms from beneath his head and found he could not. Her body looked like a shadow, but there was a strength to it that was holding his body in place.
He tried pushing and pulling. Attempted to stretch his head forward or turn it to the side. He tried to move his hands, but his fingers remained locked beneath his head. He couldn’t budge a single muscle.
‘What are you?’ he asked. At least his voice was still working. His eyes, however, were feeling heavy, he could barely blink.
‘Have you never been told of the Ban Shee?’ she questioned back.
‘Ban Shee?’ he tried to see more of her but could only manage her face. Although he could feel her down the entire length of his body, he couldn’t see it; she was a part of the blackness in the room.
‘Ban Shee are just tales mothers tell their children to scare them’ he said.
‘I am no tale’ she replied, ‘you can feel me, can you not? Let me show you how real I am’.
‘What…’ he began, but her head bend down towards him.
‘Sshhh….’ She whispered, just before she sealed his lips with what felt like it was hers.
A constriction began in the Dragon Watcher’s chest and expanded outwards to his arms, legs and back before hitting his face. He couldn’t breathe. He tried to fight back but his body was unresponsive, as if it had become rock. His eyes started to close, his mind slowing down. Darkness tunneled in….
Kilara’s eyes snapped open in her room at Mount Danu. She gasped, her airways feeling constricted. Sitting up, she took deep breaths and steadied her mind. She now knew why she kept going to that derelict place in her visions. Her incarnation would die there if she could not change this world.
Why were the Ban Shee killing Dragon Watchers in that uncertain world? They were protectors of the Dragon Maise and by affiliation also the Dragon Watchers.
But this Ban Shee was nothing like the ones she knew in her own time. She had seen the Ban Shee in that uncertain world in every one of her visions of that forsaken room. It had killed, indiscriminately, every human, male and female, that had unwittingly entered her territory.
What calamity had the Ban Shee faced in this world to transform them from feared and respected warriors to that horror? Kilara wondered.