"Wake up, mistress."
"Mist?" Aouregan murmurs, opening her eyes, "What is it?"
"You have a visitor."
Aouregan dresses herself and goes down to the door.
"Sir Falcon," she greets her visitor, "What can I do for you?"
"The giants have locked my wife in their castle," the falcon says, hopping up onto Aouregan's extended arm, "You must help me rescue her."
"Of course I will help you, good falcon," Aouregan answers, and together the woman, her cat and the bird set off on their mission.
"The castle is well guarded," Mist remarks, "You won't be able to get in through the front door."
"I know another way in," the falcon promises.
The falcon leads them deeper into the woods, to a stone well.
"To get to the Land-Under-Waves, we must go through the water," Aouregan says as she takes Mist in her arms, "Your fur will get wet. Are you sure you want to come with me?"
"I will follow you anywhere you go, mistress," the cat assures her.
"But I cannot go with you to the Land-Under-Waves," the falcon says, "For I am a creature of air. I cannot go myself, but I can give you my keen eyesight, so that you might see what needs to be done."
"Thank you, good Falcon," Aouregan says, "I will bring your wife back to you."
Aouregan steps up the edge of the well, and dives into its depths, with Mist right behind her.
After a long swim, they arrive on the shore of the Land-Under-Waves.
"Here we are, mistress," Mist says, shaking the water from his fur, "Now, which way do we go?"
"If you mean to reach the castle of the giants, you'll need to swim across the sea to the Isle of Winter," a deep, slow voice says.
Looking down, Aouregan sees a spotted turtle at her feet.
"It's long way to swim, good Sir Turtle," she says, taking him into her hands.
"Maybe for you," the turtle says, "But for me it is nothing. Here, take my shell, it will carry you across the sea in no time. All I ask in return is that you bring me the golden key the giants stole from me."
"I will do as you ask, Sir Turtle," Aouregan promises, and takes the offered shell.
"Come, Mist," Aouregan calls to her faithful cat, "We must sail to the Isle of Winter to rescue the falcon's wife, and retrieve the golden key."
"I had a strange dream," Aouregan says as her husband wakes beside her, "Mist and I were going to rescue the wife of a falcon from a castle owned by giants."
"I used to have dreams like that, when MorcuCorp had you," Farrell says, "Nightmares of searching for you, and never being able to find you. Or finally getting to where they had you, only to find you'd been moved..."
"My poor darling, you must have suffered so much, " she sighs, caressing him, "This wasn't a nightmare born of anxiety, like yours were. It was like the tales my mother used to tell when I was a child. This dream was a message, I was being given instructions..."
"Sometimes, when you've thought too long on a problem, your unconscious mind continues to work on it. That's what your dream was, Aouregan."
"No, this was no ordinary dream," Aouregan insists, "Nor was it a vision of the future. But it was important, a message I need to decipher...I wish you could believe me," she finishes, recognizing the look in his eyes.
"I can't help being skeptical," Farrel says, "It's my nature to question everything. But I believe in you, Aouregan. And if this dream leads you somewhere, you know I will come with you. I'll follow you anywhere you go."
Aouregan smiles as he speaks his last sentence, his words oddly echoing Mist's statement to her before she jumped into the well in her dream.
"If you're the cat, then the falcon must be Suchandra," she muses, "But who was the turtle, and what is his golden key? And where is the Land-Under-Waves and the Isle of Winter?" Farrell doesn't answer, his lips too busy kissing her neck to speak, and Aouregan follows him down the path of desire, forgetting, for the moment, her dream and the puzzle it presents.