I stand still, doll like, unable to move without the volition of a hand other than mine. The hand takes me to a piece of furniture, like a stool, but with a partial back. It is gorgeous, something out of a set designer's imagination about how a castle would be furnished. Dark wood, perhaps walnut, polished over decades with beeswax. Cushions are a grass green brocade with rose buds and flowers in creams, pinks, and corals, rose leaves a bit darker than a background the color of spring grass. Gilded, not in the plain yellow color one would expect, but in the red tinged form known as rose or red gold. As the hand turns me, I face away from the stool-chair and toward the center of three matching mirrors that are a few inches taller than my height. One mirror faces the seat, the others are to the side and angled. A gentle push on my shoulder prompts me to settle gracefully into the chair.
I am unable to move more than shifting my eyes, yet I am calm. Right? Surely I don't feel anxiety buried deep beneath a call imposed from without?
I can see in the mirrors that the hand belongs to an arm, that the arm belongs to the rest of a man. It could be anyone, average height, average if muscular build, average looks, dark brown eyes, medium brown hair, fair skin with a bit of tan. Anyone, that is, if he was in pants and a shirt. It looks as if one unskilled in spinning spun a rough, thick yarn, then wove it into a single length of fabric with a slit for a neck opening, and sewed it up both sides just far enough to leave arm holes. A heavy cord or light rope belts his simple robe.
In contrast, I am garbed in an ensemble that looks as if a Hollywood fashion designer was told to start with the twelfth century, make it fit for an Elven Queen out of a fantasy novel and given an unlimited budget and creative freedom.
What appears at first glance to be a rather simple chemise of undyed and unbleached cotton, proves to be far more elaborate. With an exceptional eyesight that I don't possess, I can see from a sleeve that it is of a fine thread that has been knit with an almost invisible repeating pattern by varying knit and purl stitches. The mirror shows a band of embroidery ending in lace on a sleeve that ends at the end of my elbow. The embroidered pattern is of the same variety of rose buds as the brocade on the cushions. Similar embroidery and lace on a skirt that ends at mid calf. The lace has irregular pink pearls and tiny moonstone beads worked into the knit pattern, not sewn on after.
The tunic style over gown is woven of thread every bit as fine as the chemise. The bodice is so pastel it is almost an off white instead of pink. In the logic of dreams, I know, without knowing how I know, that it was woven in single sections, from dye lot after dye lot of thread to create the color gradient effect from almost white to a deep coral pink that echos the rose gold gilding the mirrors before me. Just as I know that the chemise was hand knit on circular needles to reduce the need for seams. Brocade ribbons of rose buds and flowers on a background of green the color of new grass edge the arm hole, skirt and square neckline.
A corset wraps firmly, but not tightly, from just below the waist to just below my breasts. Cream leather, inset with the same brocade as the gown, more pearls and beads worked into it, I can just see a fabric ribbon lacing it up the back.
He starts to chant under his breath. I get the impression that even if I could hear him, I wouldn't understand what he is saying.
As abruptly as getting doused in cold water, pain awakens me.