Jak didn’t usually have dreams.
Usually, once he fell asleep, it was darkness until he woke up and that was it. Nothing else and definitely nothing he remembered.
This time felt different.
Who knew how long ago he fell asleep―could have been seconds, could have been hours. All he’d seen was darkness until suddenly, he didn’t.
Suddenly, things were bright.
Someone was holding him.
He looked up, and―
Papa. His mind provided, childlike.
Papa, he decided.
Papa was holding him, smiling brightly as he spoke to someone else. Another family member, he knew, but how he knew was unclear. They were smiling as well, bouncing their own baby on their hip. And Mar… He sat in his Papa’s hold, watching. Occasionally catching the other baby’s sight and smiling, making them smile.
It was warm and comfortable, and somehow it felt right. He was happy.
“Mar,” Papa said, and even his voice sounded softer. Younger.
He looked younger, hair blonde and green like Mar’s was and crown of spikes not growing from his skull. Instead, a real crown. A simple, Precursor metal circlet with similar spikes to the ones he’d have later. His eyes were bright, lips pulled up.
“Mar, this is your little cousin.”
Mar waved, smiling again.
The little cousin waved back, babbling at him.
“This little one will be part of your Court, when you’re king.” Papa said, gently, “So you should treat them very well.”
Mar nodded, taking it very seriously.
He couldn’t have been more than three. He didn’t think Damas expected him to remember this. And maybe this hadn’t really happened.
And then the scene changed. Papa was still holding him. They were standing in front of a huge screen.
“Mar, this is the main computer for the family’s archives.” Papa said, “Only family members and Court members can get in. You have to have a password.”
Again, Mar nodded.
“What’s your password gonna be, Mar?”
Family, Mar thought, but didn’t say anything. Just smiled.
Papa laughed. “Good boy. Don’t ever tell anyone else what it is either.”
The scene changed again.
Papa wasn’t holding him anymore. Papa wasn’t anywhere. It was just that nasty old man, the one he didn’t like. A count, he thought. Vinegar, or something.
He was holding him, and Mar was squirming. He didn’t want Vinegar.
He wanted Papa.
“Tell me the password, little prince.”
Mar steadfastly refused, but not verbally. Never verbally. Just kept squirming and kept his mouth shut.
Until he opened it to scream, of course.
Things were cold. He wasn’t with Vinegar anymore. There was someone else. Someone who looked like Papa.
“Hey kid… You take care.” He said, “Oh… And trust me on this… Stay away from any wumpbee nests on your ninth birthday, okay?”
The man smiled, a little, and picked him up, setting him on the machine.
And then, very suddenly, Jak woke up.
And all he could think, in that second, was, Where are the royal archives?