Nalil 25, 5681---Sweat dripped down Tora’Sor’s face as she stood in the pitch-black room. There was no way to sense her surroundings, leaving her very unsettled. To make it worse, she was expected to befriend a woman hiding somewhere in the room. The rumor that the woman could see her despite the dark was frightening. Unfortunately, she had little choice in the matter. When the Great King required the services of the Sisterhood of Jadela’Mar, there was no refusing the request. She held out her hands, and took another step forward. “Hello?” she called softly.
There was no answer. She took a few more steps before finding a wall. She turned around, and slumped down to the floor, her back against the wall. It was three days since she first learned of the Great King’s request for her to befriend a strange woman. The Sisterhood of Jadela’Mar claimed the assignment was not retribution for her involvement in the scandal caused by Josloy’s journal, but it sure could have been. The room was darker than any dungeon, and she knew almost nothing of the woman she was supposed to meet. The report was someone captured the woman in a cave in a distant land, but that had to be false. Tora’Sor knew firsthand the type of people who lived in the Underground, and even they needed light to see. If someone else was in the room with her, they too needed light to see.
She held her hand out in front of her. The briefest flicker of her powers could illuminate enough of the room for her to get a sense of her surroundings. She took a deep breath and prepared herself for the quick glimpse of the room.
Tora’Sor let the tiniest flicker of flame dance across the palm of her hand, but it didn’t last long. Someone directly to her left hissed and smacked her hand, extinguishing the flame. Tora’Sor jerked away in surprise.
“Hello?” Tora’Sor said hesitantly. There was no response. She reached out to try feeling where the person might be. She found nothing. “I know you’re in here.”
“I know you’re in here too,” a woman replied from Tora’Sor’s other side. The voice startled her, and she jerked to face it.
“You are afraid,” the woman observed.
“I do not like being unable to see my surroundings,” Tora’Sor replied.
“I see you fine,” the other woman said.
The voice was in a different place, so Tora’Sor knew the woman was moving around very quietly. She stood up, keeping her back to the wall. “I will find you.”
“You cannot,” the woman replied.
Tora’Sor knew it would be difficult to find the woman. For almost a week since the Great King placed the woman in here, no one had managed to catch a glimpse of her. She ate the food they left, and drank the water, but she stayed in the darkest corners whenever the door opened. Tora’Sor took two steps forward, and turned her head around, listening for any noises. After a moment, she heard something. The woman was sniffing her right shoulder. Tora’Sor spun around to try catching her, but caught only air. She thought she heard a soft laugh pass behind her, but then the room was quiet again.
“So you would toy with those who lack your ability to see in the dark,” Tora’Sor said. “Well, two can play that game.” She thought about a time she used her powers a year previously to attack two people with spoons while she slept. Something similar could apply to this situation.
“No game,” the woman replied.
“You know this is a game,” Tora’Sor told her. She bent down and started to tear a long strip of cloth from the bottom of her cloak. “You tease and taunt me because I cannot see as you see. You can pretend you are teaching me to see as you see, to hear my surroundings, but you know it would take much longer than just a few moments.” She finished tearing the strip of cloth, and tied a knot at each end. Infusing it with her spell was simple. “I could toy with you too. I could make so much light you cannot see, but I refuse to treat you that way.” She stood up, and held on to one end of the strip of cloth. “I have abilities you cannot understand. I will find you without seeing.”
“You see with the thing you hold?” the woman wondered.
“It’s only a strip of cloth,” Tora’Sor told her. “Grab it if you can.”
Tora’Sor began to swing the strip of cloth through the air around her. She hoped the woman would take the bait. Not finding anything directly around her, she began to strike out around her with the strip of cloth. It could only be a matter of time before curiosity would get the best of the woman. “I know you see this,” she said, “but can you grab it?”
Tora’Sor soon felt something touch the strip of cloth, although she wasn’t certain if it was the woman or if the strip of cloth struck a wall. She kept swinging it. Suddenly, there was a tug on the strip. She released her end, and let her spell work the magic. The strip of cloth would wrap around the woman like a rope.
There was a sharp cry of surprise, and Tora’Sor stepped forward. “I have you now,” she said, wrapping her arms around the woman and wrestling her to the ground.
With Tora’Sor sitting on her hips while one hand held her arms and the other held tight to her hair, the woman soon gave up struggling. “Still captive,” she said softly.
“That’s right,” Tora’Sor agreed. She leaned close to the woman’s head. “I spent almost three years captive in a strange land,” she whispered. “I have some idea of how you feel trapped in a place so different from your home. I was fortunate to have someone help me through my captivity, and will help you through yours if you let me.”
Tora’Sor sat up, and let go of the woman’s arms to see what would happen. The woman twisted, and moved her head. “What are you doing?” she asked the woman. There was no answer, but moments later, Tora’Sor felt a warm, wet tongue slide across her forearm as the woman licked her. Tora’Sor quickly let go of the woman’s hair, and pulled back her arm. “Gross,” she muttered, drying her arm on her cloak.
The woman didn’t try to escape, and started laughing instead. “That works every time,” she admitted.
Tora’Sor soon found herself laughing as well. The ice was broken. The woman was speaking. It might take some time, but Tora’Sor would learn what the Great King requested she learn.