Title: Dreams of Jade
Categories: story, magic, daydream, loss, china
Liz was half falling asleep of boredom looking at the endless spreadsheets on her computer. Would they never end. The screensaver popped up abruptly. It was pictures of pretty chinese violets. She was somewhat startled when in a flash they appeared on her side of the screen, but there was little time to worry about such trivial things as the room around around her began fading away.
When vision cleared, she was standing high upon a long, stone wall, reaching as far as one might see in either direction. It felt like high summer in green regions where valleys and plains begin a patient rise into foothills and eventual mountains. A girl could see for long miles in any direction from up here. Only problem was the question of where here was. Far to one side of the endless wall, perhaps half a day's ride away, a large column of dust was rising from the road Liz somehow knew lead to the Forbidden City. Her glance went up to the beautiful blue of the empty sky. The pleasent reverie on this cloudless day was broken when there was a simultaneous touch upon the shoulder and strong voice speaking.
"Chuan Nu....We must ride swiftly to the west before the Emperor's men arrive. There will be a break in the wall if we but go farther west...."
Liz whirled around and felt the flowing garments of the Imperial family move with her as she stopped to see a striking man looking deep into her eyes with great concern in his. Agitated, she fiddled with a jade dragon she was holding, fashioned into a comb, and placed it up in her hair to free the hands. This done Liz leaned forward and embraced the man.
"No, Huo Shan. I would not flee when I am right."
"But best One, the Emperor is beyond reason and will have you slain for refusing to marry his general."
"I choose ~you~ Huo Shan, and that should be enough."
The man threw his hands in the air in frustration, "Aaiee may the seven sisters of the summer palace weep at your stubbornness! You are worse than the Emperor, may his reign be eternal and the waters flow ever clear in his city."
Liz/Chuan Nu smiled as she snuck a glance up at Huo Shan, speaking words she was sure to have never thought of or heard before. "Ah, dear Huo, you know that as First Daughter I have every right to be as stubborn as the Emperor....He knows I love you, and you I shall have, not some dessicated old general."
Huo sighed sadly, and murmured to no one in particular, "Ahhh, she does not know her peril. In refusing General Zhan, she has shamed her father and he can only save face by doing great harm. I ask the forgiveness of the jade mother for what I must do...."
Huo removed from his satchel a small bag of red cloth and opened it. From it rose a cloud of tiny butterflies, passing over Chuan Nu/Liz as a river passes over a stone. They seemed to be carrying her up and away from Huo, and the last thing she could hear from his lips was "Know that I adore you Chuan nu, and wherever and whenever you land, I shall come to you in dreams."
All faded to dark and when her eyes re-focused, she was back at her computer, wondering what caused such an odd dream. That was no less than the third time in two weeks the dreams of ancient china had taken her away. Whatever could be going on? They seemed so real... As she sat there pondering, a co-worker walked by and commented on the lovely jade comb in her hair...
"But I don't have a comb..." Words stopped as she found the delicate carving still perched where she had placed it in her dream...