Disclaimer: Some posts in this journal deal with topics some readers might find uncomfortable. While I do my best to keep everything within a PG-13 lens and so descriptions are left generally vague, there may be occasional implications of gore or sexual themes. Reader discretion is advised.
The eye opened. It pulled at Tarina's skin, wider and wider and wider. She dragged her fingers down her face, searching for a hold, something to grab, some way to stop it. Some way to close it. "Please!" she cried, "Stop! Close! Stop!" It didn't answer, it didn't care. There was a hiss on her shoulder, like a laugh, but when she looked there was nothing. Just red. She screamed for help and threw her arms out, but there wasn't anything to reach for. There were supposed to be spirits, voices. She could always hear, she could always see. She was Whisper, the Spirit Talker, Shaman. She perceived things that no one else could. But now there was just red.
You wanted the truth, said a voice in her mind. Now you have it.
And then she woke up. She pulled herself free of the tangle of bed sheets that coiled around her and sat up. It was dark with night, but at least it wasn't red. A candle burned dim atop the table in the center of the room, the only illumination at this hour. There was little wax left and Tarina could bare see the flame over the bronze of the rim. The dawn would come soon, but Lathander still slept and hadn't yet blessed the earth with His light.
Tarina rubbed at her eyes. They stung fierce, and her cheeks were damp with tears. She had not been able to cleanse their itch since the shadow spirit at Soubar had jumped into her sight. It was not the first evil spirit to cling to her, but none before had been able to touch Lavern, the spirit by who's gifts Tarina was able to see into the world's soul. There was only red and pain when she tried to see now with that mystical eye. Had the shadow blinded her? She pulled herself tight at the thought.
Tarina turned her eyes to the door as the two thumps broke the quiet. Her legs ached, they had still slept even as her mind woke. She'd no desire to stand, but even less to throw a raised voice across the room. She freed herself from her sheets and walked to the door, picking up her candle along the way.
"Hello?" she said as she slipped the door open a creek. There was another light on the other side, and a shadowed face. The woman was familiar--one of the kitchen servants, Tarina thought. Her eyes were clouded, she seemed as recently taken from Shar's embrace as Tarina was.
"Are you alright, dear?" the woman asked. "There was screams, I heard."
Tarina cursed her body. "Just a bad dream," she said, and offered a reassuring smile. She needed not say that bad dreams were more serious an affair for her than they were for most people. If she was blinded, they had never known to see at all.
The woman nodded and spoke some further words of comfort, and then turned back down the hall. She told Tarina to come down to the kitchen if she needed anything, as it was near enough morning for her to begin preparing the inn's meals for the day. Tarina wished her well and closed the door. She cursed herself again. She'd no wish to rob others of their rest; she got little enough herself to not wish it upon others.
Tarina laid back down on the edge of her bed. She snuffed out her candlelight and whispered a prayer for sleep to Shar. Though the shadow that now infected her was one born from the Lady of Loss, Tarina had no hatred for the goddess of night. She knew how it felt to be spurned and misunderstood. Over the past weeks every attempt she had made to help anyone saw her spat on. Even after Sir Eldarian had died and they had all mourned together, they dismissed her when she asked to help. When she asked for help. They had known the truth, all of them. The temple and its priests, Ameris, Telia too it seemed. They knew and still left her to search alone. If they had just told her, she never would have had to have gone to Soubar. Every time she came back, blooded and cursed, they derided her. Every answer she found, they seemed to already know. Eldarian had said the light must be shown on the darkness, so that it could be seen as it was and defeated, and yet him and his church and his friends all favored secrets instead of truth.
Tarina reached up to touch the center of her forehead, then down to her eyes. Their secrets may now have cost her her magic, the only thing that made her anything more than a poor peasant girl. How could she find Hearth now, or Father? Would her spells even still work? Their spirits were bound to her talismans, but would they still listen to her calls if they knew she were blind? Lavern was still there--the pain was hers--but she was dying. The shadow was killing her.
Tarina closed her eyes as she rested her head back on the pillow and whispered a silent plea to the Dark Goddess.