In the vision, she saw herself standing at the bottom of the stairs.

To her left a marble sentinel statue held the marble scroll etched with the warning:

“Beyond this Gate, your dreams, fulfilled.
Consider well the Fate you willed,”

From the railing pillar to the stairs a raven watched, calling to his companion.

As he descended, an angry call escaped him. He remembered those who’d cast the spell to confine him in this form. It had been long ago, but the hatred and fear never abated

As for the woman, she was aware of them watching her, but had no fear.

All she desired was to come out of her somber, ashen world filled with shades of black and see the colors of the world denied her when the curse descended.

They fell silent, gauging her spirit and courage.

Time out of measure had passed since anyone stood where this woman did, but time had no real meaning or substance in a place like this.

The chilled wind was gentle, the fog was thick, the trees bare, and the ground cold and hard.

Above all else, the silence hugged her like an old friend, reluctant to let go and let her start her journey alone.

The letters of the warning scroll gleamed in the white moonlight, a written whisper of warning that she would get all she asked, and though she never read them aloud they echoed in her mind like a spilled secret that only she would hear.



The ravens spoke in her mind right after the warning faded, their patience at an end.

Dinner awaited them in the corpse of a boar that gored and killed the man who hunted him.

Blood’s copper scent filled the air, and they were loathe to be last to the feast.

One step up will change your life.

All the way, a different path.

Choose, now.

She remembered reading that somewhere, but like the colors, they eluded her.



After a deep breath, looking around at her lead-hued home, she did.