I've made some minor changes to the second draft of Exile Chapter 25, the revised version has been uploaded and the old version deleted from my site, you can downloade it at the bottom of this page. It's the one that says "Chapter 25 - Draft 2 (revised)".
Silly me, I forgot to add the most important part of this chapter while I was writing it. The revision is in the first little chunk while Mal is unconscious and dreaming. He has a recurring dream that he has had his entire life. The addition is about 900 words or so. This is something that I went back and added into earlier chapters during the time when I was revising my outlines. These small changes in previous chapters will not be available for download until I post the full second draft as one file, as there are really too many of them, and most are very minor changes that you wouldn't notice unless you're looking for them anyway.
Anyway, the gist of what's going on is the Oracle has gone for about as long as she possibly can (nearly 10 billion years) but now she can feel insanity creeping in because the human mind was never built to last that long. She's been desperately seeking someone that she can trust to take her place as the gatekeeper of a doorway that connects all the worlds in the universe to the realm of the Northern Sage, and through there to the afterlife. She's chosen Mal, because he has what she believes it will take to become her successor, and sent out her prophecy which brought the Samirreh to the Four Kingdoms searching for him. She did this, knowing full well what the consequenses would be, in order to engineer a situation where Mal could become what he needs to be in order to take her place, and to prove himself worthy of it. She basically created a future where she would be replaced by manipulating events to make it happen for her the way that she wanted, but in such a way that Mal would still have the ability to choose whether he will or whether he will not. There are deep consequences for both choices. Later on you'll see what the consequences of the action she has taken will be if Mal refuses, and it's not pretty.
This is not the only thing that she has done in order to lure Mal to her so that he can fulfill the calling that she has given him. She has also given him dreams, like the one I added to this chapter, in order to make him WANT to take her place. She'd kind of sneaky, she's preying on his sense of chivalry to help a woman in need, and hoping that he won't be able to ignore her calls. The biggest obstacle that she faces is free will. She can't force Mal to take her place. Only he can choose to do that. So she'd trying, through dreams, to make him want to save her, and want to take her place.
A big thieme in most of the stories that i write is free will. When I was on my LDS mission it was shortly after the 9-11 attacks, and a lot of people were turning away from religion saying things like "If there's a god he wouldn't have let that happen, so there must not be a god." This got me thinking very deeply about free will, and why bad things happen to good people. The answer is very simple. Free Will. God has rules to live by the same as us, and he cannot disrupt the greatest gift that he's given to man. Free Will. Bad things like the 9-11 attack happen not because god doesn't care or isn't there, it's because if he stepped in to stop them he would be breaking the rules of his own game. Everyone has the right to choose their own path and actions, and if he steps in to stop someone from doing something bad, he's taken that person's free will away. This idea has intrigued me ever since, and it has become a very large part of everything that I have written after returning from my mission.
He has not had this dream since the day before Silmera arrived because his heart has become impure in the four years between then and now. He only has this dream at times in his life when his heart is worthy of taking up her mantle. He was driven by pain and revenge before, but now that Silmera has made him realize the wrongness of his ways, he's begun to see the world differently, becoming clean and worthy once more. And so the dream has returned to him.
And now that this post has become longer than the actual addition to the chapter it's announcing, I think I'll go get back to work on overhauling the next chapter.