A piece of fanfiction written by “alhena_m35.”

It came to him in a dream.

The night was bright from the full moon hung high in the sky, bright enough to light Alfred’s room in a faint silver glow. Usually, he was a calm sleeper, not moving much in his sleep but that night, he fidgeted.

In the dream, he was walking in a wide field, blades of grass swaying in the wind to a song only they knew the lyrics to. His feet were wet from the dew drops on the ground and next to his were slender feet, keeping pace with him. They belonged to a woman, a woman he couldn’t see the face of. It was blurry and he was sure if he tried to reach forward and stop her, he’d wake up.

That’s what he did, anyway.


Alfred kept thinking about the dream for days. He visited the library, went through the books there any chance he got. But still…there was no lead. The disappointment of it got to him at times and he almost quit his search. Until the day he found a book that hinted at something close to it. It was a mythology book, something he didn’t read a lot. But this one looked special, felt special when he opened it and caressed the beautiful script. It was written in a language he didn’t understand but the picture said it all. It was the same field he saw in his dream. From then, Alfred started learning the Ogham script. He was always quick when it came to learning languages and this one proved to be no different. The more he learned, the closer he felt to getting close to the elusive woman he had seen in his dream. “Sire, perhaps a rest would be better,” his advisor called out when he went to his study instead of sleeping chambers for the fifth time that week. Alfred paused only for the briefest of seconds before resuming his pace and going to sit on his desk. No…he wouldn’t be able to sleep anyway till he knew about his dream better.


Alfred had been through two books on the Ogham script without having found a solid clue when he stumbled upon what was known as divining. It immediately had his full attention, for the word was heavy and its implications heavier.

By now, he knew enough about the folklore to know about Midir and Etain, what their story had been about. A caged bird, freed only to be caged again… He wanted to know where Midir had taken Etain because he was sure the woman in his dream was Etain.

Yet just when he felt a little closer to unraveling the threads, they seemed to get bound even tighter than before.

This time though, Alfred wouldn’t back off till he was done with the divination.

~ “Your grace, we’ve brought the man who claimed himself to be an expert in the Ogham script,” one of the royal guards said when he was in throne room one afternoon. There was the slightest of twitches in his expressions before he ordered for the man to be brought in. Surprisingly, it was a middle aged man since he was expecting a language as old as Ogham to be mastered by someone who was just as old. After Alfred explained everything, the man gave him a wry smile. “I know what to do, but I won’t recommend it.” “Your words have been heard. Now speak.” So he did. Alfred noted everything he was being told and later, in the privacy of his chamber, he took notes on a parchment before starting with the process of divination. The man had handed him a book which went into details about what needed to be done. “Four wands of yew…” he thought out loud before ordering some of his attendants to bring the mentioned materials which were required. When they were brought, he sat down on a chair and brought ink and brush near him, inscribing the Ogham onto it. After that, his search was somewhat of a blur as he sped through the country to find the keys of divination. The journey took him to the corners of his lands which he didn’t know existed. His advisor brought the important matters to him that required quick decisions. The rest were left with his trusted men who were good at handling the affairs of the country. “Eochra ecsi…” “What you’re looking for, doesn’t want to be discovered,” a woman told him when she heard him mutter the words. “It wouldn’t have come to my dream if it didn’t want to be discovered,” he countered, gaze sure and unflinching. She didn’t tell him outright where his destination was, because she didn’t know it herself. But she did give him clues which were enough for him to have an idea of the general location. Etain came to his dream one more time, the night before he reached Breg Leith. She was sitting at the edge of a small pool, the rough edges of it smoothing out by her mere presence. Alfred approached her and she tilted her head at him, splashing a little water from her delicate hands. “You’ve finally come,” she said, her voice coming from nowhere and everywhere at once. “Because you called.” She seemed amused by his response. “Did I?” He shook his head a little. “Not with words.” “Sit,” she gestured to the empty space around her and he shook his head once more. “I have to go somewhere…” Alfred mumbled but he couldn’t remember where he was supposed to be going. “Is it necessary for you to go?” Etain asked and her form shimmered in the dreamscape. The sparkle of the water dulled in comparison to her beauty and Alfred was tempted to stay. “Yes. There’s someone waiting for me at the end,” he said and turned around. Etain said nothing, continuing her splashing of water. “May luck be on your side,” she whispered and the dreamscape shattered. ~

When Alfred woke up the next day, he didn’t remember the dream.

My name is Martine and I am writing my PhD about the Cyborg Mermaid. On this website, you’ll find blogs about autism, cyborgs, fan fiction, King Alfred of Wessex, mermaids, music & musicology, martial arts, (neuro)psychology, video games, and random nerdiness.

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