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Ana 2

The wind teased her like a playful child seeking attention. Noticeable but easy to ignore in the face of greater things. Like the fact that she had stopped breathing, that her heart beat faster as if to compensate for the fault in her lungs. That she was frozen in place.

This was surreal and not in the fantastical way it usually meant, no, this was gut wrenching mind numbing surreal. The kind that left a bleeding hole of uncertainty devouring all that had been sane about the world.

Uncomprehending she stared into the icy eyes of the stranger who held her arms in his hands, not even registering his touch. Numb, her eyes held on to his as she felt the wind tease her hair, the only two sensations she was aware of. The blue of his eyes and the playful wind.

He shook her but she felt nothing as her mind struggled to process the impossibility it had been dealt. A commotion vibrated through the wind, minute discordant sensations that her mind struggled to recognize. Even as a part of it screamed at her to take note.

Where was her serene acceptance when she needed it most? That belief that she would walk through anything to emerge on the other side. Her peace crumbled as the moment stretched, disbelief battering at her numbed consciousness.

Slowly, like water trickling into a cavernous reservoir she became aware of the resistance against her hands. How had she been able to ignore that, or held on for even an instant? Paddy and Ellie were strong and should have escaped her inattentive grip on their collars and yet she still held them.

Her eyes fell onto the two guards, swords in hand they had their eyes focused on her two companions ready to kill them at the slightest provocation. The bird had its wings outstretched with the head held back as if caught in a moment of indecision between flight and attack.

Still a bit dazed her eyes trailed back to those ice blue of the lord and saw the awareness in them. He stood calm at the center of tension, aware that a single wrong move would result in violence. Her dogs were an unknown but their muscled litheness and sharp canines projected them predators, swift predators. He would be the first they attacked yet he stood calm as if by being so he would inject his calmness to those around him.

Ana knew she had to diffuse the lethal moment. She could not risk her dogs. If she had indeed crossed into another world they were all she had. Lord Arrapha let go of her arms as she went to her knees to hug the two dogs.

“It’s okay.” She whispered into Paddy’s neck. Comforting herself as much as the two. “Everything is going to be fine.”

The two stopped barking and turned to comfort her. Her heart filled at that, knowing their loyalty and love was something she could always depend on. Right then it gave her the courage to face whatever was happening.

For a minute she held on, as paddy rubbed his head against her cheek and Ellie licked the other. Gathering her courage she squeezed them one last time before standing back up.

The three men were looking at her as if she were an alien that had just materialized before them. Well she was in theory an alien, if this Arrapha guy was to be believed, and she had just materialized out of nowhere.

“I am on the world of Seleucia?” the blonde lord nodded. “I’m on another world?” The look he gave her was one that would be given to someone teetering in the edge of insanity. She felt like she was on that edge. “Which galaxy?” She asked to be met with worried looks.

Frustrated and annoyed she walked back to the rock she had been sitting on where her backpack still was. Her friends were always putting a lot of ‘survival’ necessities into it and for once she was glad of it. There was no telling what she might need.

The compact pack held a microcomputer which she hoped would still work even if she was on another world. It had been advertised as capable of such a feat being solar powered with an infinity battery as a backup. Did she truly believe she was on another world? No. Maybe. She didn’t know.

She managed to access the internet, like that would work on another planet - one earth had not discovered, so maybe these guys were playing her. Still she called up the extreme deep field. A three dimensional holoid of the various galaxies around the milky way with their shapes clearly visible, their definitions and color magnificent.

These are galaxies.” She indicated then zoomed in on the milky way. “That’s the milky way galaxy where earth is.” She zoomed in on one of the octopi arms close to the tip. “This is earth’s solar system” then she narrowed in on earth. “And this is earth, my planet if we’re still on this I’m on another world thing.”

Lord Arrapha’s frown showed his confusion and a bit of fear. “What manner if magic is this?”

“Not magic. Its science, technology. The design worlds are run on, not magic. Magic isn’t real.”

“Calm down, my lady.” He said in that calm voice used for people about to lose it.

Taking a deep calming breath Ana let it out long and slow. Had she really started this day wrapped in blissful serenity? How she wished the day would start over and none of this would happen but it had and she had to face it, she would face it all.

“Is there anyone around who can fix this?” She gritted. “Some highly magical person who can get me back home.”

“Uh well, Lady Aridgwen of Uana is the most magical in our realms.” He replied in the same careful tone he had used before, as if he feared driving her further off the edge.

She laughed, the laughter dispelling her remaining anxiety. “If you think I’m insane you should try being me and hearing what you’re saying.”

He watched her for what felt like an eternity, his eyes intense as if to see to the core of her being. The ice in them came through more than they had before as he he bore into her.

She held her breath, waiting with outward patience for whatever he would decide. With every breath she took, every moment that passed her peace reasserted itself. She would stand with the strength she had and it would be enough.

“Very well, but first I must take you to my castle.” Castle? Was he trying to show off or was that how lords spoke? He held out his arm to her, “Shall we?”

Smiling up at him Ana took his arm and allowed him to lead her to the oversized falcon. With the help of one of the guards she mounted behind him knowing that Paddy and Ellie would run after them.

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