The Second Sdhlain: Sdhlai 4
Consciousness did not return
all at once for Erif. It trickled back, drop by drop, quiet notes
impinging on the roaring silence of non-awareness.
First, the cold. It did not suffuse her as it should at
such depths; only the tips of her wings, the bottoms of
her feet, seemed to be exposed. This caused her to start
more than anything else; a deep jolt of fear ran through
her as she contemplated the possiblities, more and more
conscious of the environment around her.
She tried pulling her feet up, and the cold dissapated.
It must be some product of the force holding me here.
She tried retracting her wings as well, but they seemed
bound in their unfurled form.
She tried turning her head, but it would not move. Wiggling
her fingers worked, but changing the position of her arms did not.
She could breathe easily, which meant that her torso had some small
degree of latitude, but she could not turn or twist. Whatever held
her there did so with force but not pain. Such technology stood
far beyond the reach of the Tel, but she had no delusions; whoever
held her here (Elof, she recalled, as more and more returned
to her) had abilities that her people merely dreamt of.
Then consciousness stole away from her again, and she slept.
She awoke to a sight of incredible ugliness. The face that covered
her field of vision did not have the soft fur of the Tel only two
arcs of white hair above the silver eyes. The eyes . . . the eyes
had no discernible pupils, just a solid featureless silver surface.
It was only later that she noticed Elof never blinked.
The man stared intently at her, either not noticing that she was
looking back, or not caring. She coughed, more as a test than from
any real need, and Elof started.
"Ah. I see you are awake."
His face split with a grotesque smile, all teeth and not in the least
Erif fought to keep the tremble out of her voice. "Will you let
me out of this . . . whatever it is?"
The man grunted. "Later, perhaps. Not now. Now, you must eat."
He slapped something on her chest--she could not look down to see--and
"There. That should do."
Erif wondered if the man was insane. Surely he knew that that Tel did
not eat through their stomachs? Some of her consternation must have
shown on her face; his smile faded, replaced by a hard look, a stony
stare made more powerful by his unnatural gaze.
"It's a dermal patch. It will release all of the necessary minerals
and nutrients into your system, replacing your need to eat. You will
still be hungry, to be sure, but you will not die of malnutrition or
He stepped back, and reached into a pocket of his deep purple robe.
A remote of some sort appeared in his hand. His stare never left
As he turned a knob on the remote, he said, "This, on the other hand,
could very well kill you."
The deep black unconsciousness returned.
Return to The Second Sdhlain
Last Updated: 2003.01.16.1519