Lives of the Saints

Drai Has a Vision

The words of prophecy Drai hears are shamelessly stolen from the Nerevarine and Bloodmoon prophecies in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.

Author’s Note

Drai dreamed that night. On waking, he couldn’t remember much beyond visions of fire and blood, and a lone red jackal nipping at his heels.

He got up early, wandering the Tengri camp aimlessly. The dawn and the receding dreams made the world seem surreal, like he was seeing the flowers of draggle-tails through a dirty House Dunmer window.

He elected to go hunting with two of the other Ashlander hunters, hoping to clear his mind. Lack of sleep made him slow and stupid however, and a cold drizzling rain made his breath come short. The other two hunters had gone on ahead, following the track of a pack of nix-hounds worrying an injured guar. Drai found himself on a House Dunmer road a a couple furlongs off. It had rained during the night, and water stood upon the flagstones, reflecting the trees above.

Drai moved slowly, disliking the squelch of his wet feet in his boots. He followed the road down into the lowlands, where the trees opened up but the water thickened. He had to go slower in the mud, and he several times came to a stand still.

Misery dogged him. He had clearly lost the others. Looking about, his gaze was drawn to the reflections in the water. They had a mirage-like quality to them in the drizzling mist.

“…far-star-marked…fire from the eye of glass…”

Drai stopped and looked around, heart pounding. The voice had the accent of an Ashlander, and he thought perhaps that one of his companions was calling to him. But no, he could see the two hunters through a faraway break in the trees, hopping from reed-studded island to reed-studded island along a marshy strait. They were intent on their quarry and had forgotten about him.

Drai continued staring around, but nothing more made a sound. One of the standing pools of water seemed much darker than those around it. Drai picked his way over to it, and looked in. He saw the trees reflected above, but they were darker in the pool, their branches twisted.

“Come to me, through fire and war…!”

The voice roared at him from all sides. The trees in the water turned upside down, consumed in a pillar of flame and choking smoke. Drai couldn’t see, staggering back and rubbing his eyes. Something large and dark loomed up front of him, sharp teeth glinting in a grin; three voices whispered; a moon and star chased each other along his brow and baffled the light.

When he came to himself again, he was lying propped up against a willow tree as if he had done nothing more than doze off in the heat. One of the hunters, Taargus, was standing over him, arms crossed in impatience.

“Nice nap you had?” he asked with a sneer.

“Heh!” said the other hunter, Nanna, shaking her head.

Drai just blinked. He knew from long experience it was of no use to explain. He stood up, hiding his shaky legs by supporting himself against the bole of the tree.

“You could have at least invited us,” said Nanna, and she tried a humorous smile that was quickly wiped from her face by Taargus’ scowl.

“Let’s just go,” Taargus growled. “If he can’t help bring down a guar, he’ll have to go on bog rat.”

“We’ll all go on bog rats at this rate,” said Nanna with a sigh. She glanced back at Drai and offered a smile, before following her companion back into the marsh.

Drai didn’t answer. The smile had pained him, reminding him of…he angrily shook the thought from his head. That no longer mattered. There was nothing he could have done then.

Unless… came a nagging thought. If he had been stronger, more cunning…

Grow a fire in your belly! came the faint screech of the farseer, breaking his thoughts into pieces and scattering them as if on the wind. Drai smiled wryly, even as his hand tightened on his bow.

“Fire and war,” he muttered as he glanced once at the pools. He shivered and turned to tramp after the hunters, his feet shattering the images in the water as he splashed through them. “What is coming on the horizon? What are you trying to show me, Azura…?”

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