When you close your eyes, you see it. Golden towers skirted by lush forests. The glint of a thousand windows lit like lanterns. A shine so bright it turns the horizon gold.
You can hear it, too. Hear the gentle hum of the islands aloft in the air. Hear the bustle of the shining city.
Sometimes you can even smell it. Earth and trees and something honeysweet, something not quite natural and yet oddly familiar.
But you have never felt it. It was a dream. Until now.
Now the golden cobble streets are firm beneath your feet. The wind is temperate but just chill enough to raise gooseflesh on your bare arms. You are wearing casual clothes; only moments ago, you had been standing in your garden.
But the city isn’t quite how you remember it. The bustle is gone. The lantern windows are dimmed. A faint, tinkling tune plays on the wind.
You follow it to fountain courtyard, the paving almost mosaic-like. The water that flows is as golden as the towers.
Sitting on that fountain is a woman of crystal, the reflection of the water and sunlight refracting through her and casting a dancing rainbow across the ground.
She turns as you approach, her movement inhumanly smooth.
— You have nearly made it — she tells you, her voice made up of meaning and the twinkling chime of crystal bells. — I can help you the rest of the way —
You feel fear and awe at the sight of her, and she cocks her head to one side.
— Would this shape be better? —
The crystal cracks, chimes, and reforms. A large crystal rabbit, its ears tilted toward you.
— Come, — it says. — There is much to be done. —
You blink and the city is gone. The fountain, the honeysweet scent. You are standing in your garden.
You feel a nudge at your ankle; a small crystal rabbit sits up on its hind legs, bracing a paw against your leg.
— Let’s go, — it says.
This Creature Encounter was a commission for Rowyn!