I saw her first in a cavern made of amber. I'm still not sure whether it was a dream or a waking vision. It doesn't matter anymore. The reality of it has been established, solidified by signs and long conversations and a particularly sticky night spent sweating and dancing and fucking.
She slithered along the floor in a violently scarlet gown, with long hair golden and black. The cavern glowed faintly, the rock itself illuminated from within. I was backed into a corner. She appeared from a bend in the corridor. I sensed without seeing that it went on for miles, maybe even to the other side of the world, but I also sensed that I was not allowed to walk that hall. Not yet. Over us stretched the World Ocean, as vast as space. I could see it through an opening in the ceiling. The black water dripped down into the hall but did not flood it.
She said nothing. She looked me over and smiled. It was a shifting smile. She looked the way you do when you stare into a mirror for too long -- familiar yet alien, serene and dangerous at the same time. She stretched out a hand to me and from her wrist dangled a silver bracelet loaded with charms. They rang out in the silence of the hall like bells, like chimes.
I reached for her hand, terrified and desperately in love at the same time, but before I could grasp it, a great call sounded from the Ocean. She gave me one last mercurial smile and expoloded in a whirlwind of color and sound. She spiraled up through the opening in the ceiling and into the Sea. I am not sure who or what called to her.
I awoke after that, or that is all I can remember. I have seen glimpses of her since then, felt her presence, even danced with her, but I still do not know her Name. She will tell me when she thinks I am ready. I call her the Red Queen or the Mother. She is the serpent, the lion, and the blood-red rose. I hope to see her again like that. I hope to meet her in the amber cavern and see her stretch out her hand to me. I hope the next time I am able to take that hand and follow her into the Ocean.