The knight woke up from a blissful dream. Or so he thought. He could but scarcely remember its details, but he seemed sure it was a good dream; a nightmare would have had another texture, would have left another imprint on his memory. Despite this train of thought, for all his sureness he was pretty much uncertain. How could he be certain that it was a decidedly good dream? He needed to know what he had dreamt, it seemed like an important dream, but nothing felt right in those brains of his…
The youngest soul in a troop of wandering knights, the slender-looking and light-hearted young man stood there, near a cracking fire, for many a moment unsure whether or not he dreamt of a murdered family or about a woman; both of these options felt right in that little heart of his, though it was his brain who had nothing else to do other than mock him. How could that be? How could two possible dreams, as far apart from each other as they could possibly be, feel right at the same time? What kind of faulty memory had he?
The whole episode with the burned up house and the destroyed family surely could not be regarded as anything else other than a bad dream, but somehow his young mind was unsure of the actual dream he had had. Why should that be? Well, the event which had unfolded a week before left a deep and harrowing mark on him that could easily have turned into a nightmare; but just a easy he could have dreamt about a fair maiden in need of some gallant knight. He was torn between two opposing forces which ate away at him, each enjoying a certain consequence for his well being. Last week’s event profoundly saddened him, because he and his companions always thrived to help those in need but in that particular case could do nothing but revenge dead men. Meanwhile, the lady in his dream and of his dreams could have brought joy to a lonely soul. Not necessarily so, but at least hopefully.
An uneasiness followed this acute lack of proof; he would have welcomed a sign, the tiniest conceivable, that his dream was in fact a happy dream and not a nightmare. His companions had slept like logs so they were in no position to bear witness on the way he had slept. There was little else he could do about it: his memory helped him none, he had no logical reason to think he had slept well in the company of a delightful dream, there was no real proof he had had such a dream… anyhow, he wanted to think that that was the case. Why recollect a scary dream? Why not imagine having dreamt a charming one instead? Even if that did not actually happen… you know, beautifying your life?
So the knight, upon waking up lying next to a nearly deserted fire – which, not being fed any new timber for a couple of hours, started to fade away – chose to add detail to the dream he would rather have dreamt instead of the one he most likely had actually dreamt.
So the knight started recollecting, piecing up together that which his mind told him he might have dreamt and that which he wished to have dreamt: the dream involved a blond woman, a northerner, a mistery of a woman who, if gazed upon, had the power to awake feelings of joy and happiness through nothing more than her sight. She analyzed each element in her surroundings with her big blue eyes and found tiny bits of packed up joy in every single element in her surroundings. In turn, the environment seemed to respond in kind and reflect some of the joy it received from her. A wonderful bargain!
Perhaps the blue-eyed beauty liked to think that yellow was the color of joy, as everything about her resembled some nuance of that color: her hair was dyed in a shinning yellow which unequivocally suited her, the dress she wore had little flowers painted in a maize shade of yellow, the rings on her fingers shone in a fiesta of glistening gold and amber, while her fingernails glimmered in the sun in a remarkable jasmine; even her light green painted house had accents of aureolin which gave the whole place an air of cheerfulness and liveliness.
For all the gaiety emanating out of every corner of her being, the girl was rather in a disquieted state. She had recently said goodbye to her companion for the last few winters, a migratory goose which (after having spent much to much time in a place where seasons came and went away in complete disregard of the needs of quite a number of particularly choosy bird species) had finally decided to move on in spite of the bond it shared with the girl. The bird could not hope to survive even more winters in that frozen landscape which the entire area turned out to be each year starting around November. Not for all the girl’s love, the goose could not endure another freezing winter, no matter how many blankets the girl stacked upon the trembling bird and how much she struggled to find proper food for the bird. Something was not right and the bitter cold and the lack of decent food were merely a symptom of the underlying cause, the fact that the goose had its natural needs which conflicted with the girl’s habitat.
The golden girl understood the goose’s predicament, even though she needed some time to fully realize that she had been holding captive a migratory bird. Such a “happening” should not have… happened, truth be told, no matter how much she needed some company. In time, she understood the goose’s need for a different environment and so, in the end, she let it go… wherever it might have wanted to fly towards. The sad thing was that it took her quite some time to figure it all out.
The dream which unfolded in the knight’s mind had little shape; he tried to remember it as much as he could, but it was difficult to come up with all the crucial (and sometimes not so crucial) details much needed to give it its proper shape. He improvised a lot. Fact is that even as a work in project the texture of the dream turned out smooth enough so that it satisfied the knight. He had gotten rid of the conflict which made it difficult for him to remember whether or not he had a good dream or a nightmare. He chose the former: he dreamt of a woman… a fair maiden… And that much was nothing to wonder about, after all, he was a lonely wanderer whose sole company were the other two knights. They could help him in everything pertaining to their tough lives but the two of them could not never replace a woman’s breath over his shoulder. That was beyond their powers and just in the hands of a lady. Such as the lady in his dream: a phantom that she was, she had, despite her lack of a physical shape, a feature which drew her towards the real world: she had amber hair and blue eyes, exactly like the lady painted on the saddle the knight used for mounting his steed. The knight welcomed the color yellow and its nuances because he associated it with an enthusiasm for life which was much needed if one decides to take up the wondering-provider-of-help profession. In that line of work, if one lacked the passion to continue on, then the whole itinerant lifestyle could crumble around its own core in a matter of days.
Precisely because he was a pillar of positive thinking the wanderer continued on recollecting bits and pieces of his dream, fragments of the lady’s life, in hope of having a clearer picture of what he had dreamt. Or what he ought to have dreamt. His companions were in awe at his extended day-dreaming, but despite their repeated naggings he would not cease gathering fractions of his dreams and then scribble them on coarse pieces of paper. He thought that maybe one day his dreams were going to turn into reality, so why not know beforehand what the future had in hold for him?
Words and parts of sentences came into his mind; he remembered that the lady had a hard time getting over the goose’s departure, because no matter how different a human being and a bird might appear to be, they had a deep (enough) connection. Granted, not the most desirable of connections, as the bird was used to a different life than what the girl was able to provide. The girl wanted a close companion, while the goose could not (realistically) adapt to such a relationship. It was, after all, a migratory bird. Leaving the bird to its own devices turned out to be the best of moves the girl could possibly have done, and, in spite of crying a lot for a couple of days, her usual joy came back to her at its fullest in a matter of weeks. And precisely then the leaves of all the trees in the forest surrounding her house started changing color, quite a number of them choosing to humor her and adopt all sorts of harvest gold, light and dark goldenrod, and saffron in their voyage towards falling to the ground. During those days of autumn the girl appeared to be on the peak of her happiness, which, in turn, meant that in the knight’s mind settled itself a similar joyfulness.
He was contempt. He was ready for anything.