Jurthe 20, 5682---The cool breeze tugged at Tora’Sor’s cloak as she stood on the beach waiting for Sushala’Mol. She was thankful for the cloth tied tightly around her head to protect the unhealed wound. Without the cloth, the breeze would pull at her hair, agitating the wound, perhaps even enough to bring tears to her eyes, but the cloth stayed tight, and kept her from feeling any pain. It was an awkward wound, and the only part of her body that seemed unwilling to heal. The rest of her body was still sore as the severe burns finished healing, but it was no longer painful as it had been when she first regained consciousness. The nature of her rapid healing was a matter of discussion for many in the Sisterhood of Jadela’Mar. Although Tora’Sor distinctly recalled the bright light and voices of the Lunari and claimed they healed her, no one else admitted to believing her tale. It was a source of frustration for Tora’Sor, although considering the prevailing attitude toward her within the Sisterhood, it was hardly worth thinking about.
Sushala’Mol eventually arrived, and greeted Tora’Sor. She no longer wore a blindfold, instead wearing a hat pulled low to shade her sensitive eyes. “The elders apologize for their treatment of you, although they are too ashamed to face you in person,” she told Tora’Sor. “Elder Sethanoth, in particular, asked me to express his gratitude for your saving us despite his treatment of you.”
“I take it everyone is adapting to life outside the cave,” Tora’Sor decided. “From what I heard, the first couple weeks were nearly unbearable, but then people began to grow accustomed to not having the perfect darkness.”
“It is still hard,” Sushala’Mol told her. “The children are resilient, and can walk in the sun with their eyes uncovered, but the older a person is, the harder it is for the eyes to adjust. I still need to keep my eyes shaded, and I expect the oldest among our people will never be able to set foot outside except during the darkest nights. Everyone is adjusting differently, but for the most part, they are slowly opening their eyes.”
Tora’Sor smiled. “You have come a long way since we first met, from hiding from the smallest candle to standing in the daylight with only your eyes shaded. I wish I could stay to see the rest of your people do the same, but I must leave with the fleet. Perhaps someday I will return, but I feel my work will keep me too occupied in other lands. I wish you the best.”
Sushala’Mol stepped close and hugged Tora’Sor. “I once believed that seeing light was a curse,” she said softly, a tear falling from her eye, “but you proved me wrong. Thank you.”
“You proved yourself wrong,” Tora’Sor whispered back. “All I did was push you harder and faster than you’d push yourself because I believed it was the only way to live up to an old woman’s expectations for me.”
Sushala’Mol pulled back and smiled. “Did you succeed?”
Tora’Sor nodded. “She said I had to do the impossible. Does giving your people the chance to leave the caves and learn to see qualify?”
Sushala’Mol leaned in and hugged Tora’Sor again. “Yes!” she cried. “You did the impossible. I don’t know how, but you did.”
Tora’Sor did not reply. She knew Sushala’Mol was telling the truth. Tora’Sor did live up to Rarla’Nun’s expectations although she was still in disbelief that the old woman actually managed to destroy a large portion of the Underground. In one sense it was a victory, but Tora’Sor could not shake off the feeling that it came at a cost no one yet realized. Tora’Sor was fortunate only to have an unhealed wound on her head; others did not fare so well. Many died in the battle, and Tora’Sor wondered what became of Niahla’Sen during the blast. The cost was high just for this one battle, but the war wasn’t over. There would be other battles in other lands, and only time would determine the outcome of the war.
After several minutes, Sushala’Mol released Tora’Sor, and stepped back. “It is time for you to go, or the ships will leave you,” she said.
Tora’Sor backed toward the boat that would carry her to the ships. “Goodbye, Sushala’Mol,” she said. There was much more she could say, but it all felt awkward, so she left it with just a simple goodbye.