She slept. And as she slept, she dreamt that she stood in the center of a meadow covered in the grass of a green more vivid than any she had ever seen; a green that would put to shame even the most precious emerald known to man. The field was covered in flowers of the most delicate white that swayed gracefully in the gentle breeze.
Gliding towards her was a woman—a beautiful woman with hair was as black as the feathers of the crow that perched gracefully on her shoulder and eyes as green as the grass on which they stood. Her skin, a smooth and flawless ivory, was as delicate as the flowers in the meadow. Her lips wore a smile full of love and knowledge; a love for her many children and the knowledge of many worlds. Her name was Morrigan. And when she spoke, Hayley knew that she was no longer in a dream.
"My lady." Hayley kneeled and bowed her head low to show her respect. What else was there to do in the presence of a goddess?
"My child." Her smile was warm and her touch gentle as she lifted Hayley's head then pulled her to her feet.
"Is it time then? Is that why you're here?" Though her face and voice showed only calm acceptance, the goddess could see the fear in Hayley's heart. Because of that fear, her voice was soft when she answered.
"Not yet, little one. But the time is near."
"I'm not ready. I haven't learned enough."
"You have learned much. Yet, you are right; here is still much more for you to learn. But you will be ready when the time comes. The six of you will form a strong circle." Not even Hayley could hide her shock at that last part. Her quick in-drawn breath and the confusion clouding her ordinarily unfathomable eyes were clues that even a mortal would not miss.
"The six of us? But Grandmother said—"
"Though she knew plenty for a mortal, your grandmother did not know everything."
"Who are these others then? When will I meet them?"
"You will meet them when it is time."
"But how are we supposed to train enough to fight if we don't even know each other? Shouldn't we—" One of Morrigan's perfectly arched eyebrows rose a fraction in amusement.
"You will meet them when it is time, Hayley." Hayley could tell from her tone that the goddess would soon tire of the barrage of questions and amusement would eventually turn to irritation. Hayley was smart enough to know you didn't want to irritate a goddess. Especially not this one.
"Of course, my lady. Forgive me. I'm just worried."
Morrigan brushed her hand across Hayley's cheek. Her touch was tender and maternal, meant to comfort and alleviate a fraction of Hayley's anxiety.
"I know, dear one. I know."
Morrigan watched with rueful eyes Hayley's form began to fade as her corporeal body began to awaken. Sometimes the responsibilities of the gods were a heavy burden for even a deity's heart to bear.