Cedric looked out over an expansive field of tall, golden wheat waving in the early autumn breeze. The crisp air warned of an early frost. He shrugged against the cold but made no attempt to move.
A shadow inched across the field, first swaying with the shafts of gold, but then growing distinct and black, finally covered the entire area. As if unnoticed a moment ago, a woman appeared in the center of the field, above the wheat, standing – no – floating. Cedric strained to make out any details, but the figure would not cooperate.
A colorful caravan filled with boisterous gypsies rattled along the road, stopping below the suspended lady. Without missing a beat, they built a bonfire beneath her and reveled around it. As Cedric was straining to see what they were doing an explosion burst out from the fire, flattening the wheat as it raced out in a circle of destruction. He had no time to move before the blast knocked him to the ground.
When he pulled himself up, the field was engulfed in smoke and the woman was nowhere to be seen. Cedric’s legs were unsteady, so he eased himself back onto the ground in time to see an enormous face materialize out of the smoke, laughing and taunting him. Before he could crawl away, a broad sword came crashing down through the air from behind the smoke, slicing the hideous face into swirls of smoldering ash.
Cedric bolted awake, drenched in sweat, heart bounding so hard he was afraid his wife would hear. She lay next to him, still sleeping. Slowly, he slid out of bed and left the room, shaking all the while. This was not the first time this vision had invaded his dreams, and he presumed it would not be the last. Unlike most of his visions, this premonition only become more convoluted and foggier in his mind, leaving him with fewer details, and more smoke. If he attempted to focus on any part of the vision, it became more obscured.
Still shaken, Cedric went to the study for a drink to calm his nerves. He was often up before the staff, but the solitude suited him, no one to question his choice of indulgences. Still, he needed the time to compose himself before preparations began for the queen’s arrival. He prayed that for once, his vision might be only a bad dream.