"Yes, I do wish to seek the light," I wanted to say. Or, maybe, "I've been banned to utter darkness by my own deeds. Can you help me undo them and find my way home again? I don't think that you can, but I'd really like to believe in a miracle right now."

Of course, I could say none of these things. They would only lead to more questions which, if I were foolish enough to answer them truthfully, would lead to besmirching Merran's reputation or to giving away my true identity.

I took a deep breath and tried to compose myself. "I can't see," I said. "It would be nice to see the light again." My voice was steadier than I feared it would be.

Rodan chuckled. "I'm sure it would." With a mixture of relief and despair I realised that the moment had passed.

I could hear him approach and pull up a chair next to the bed. "What happened?" he asked me. "You haven't always been blind, have you?"

Blind, I thought, I've gone blind.

"I tried to kill myself," I said. "I had locked myself in to cut my wrists. When they broke down the door I saw some kind of blinding light, and that is the last thing I remember seeing."

"I'm sure you've been through a lot," Rodan said. I didn't reply, hating myself for deceiving him.

"Oh, do eat your lunch," he said then, I supposed to Jadri.

"Thank you," Jadri said. "Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you." I could hear him pull up a chair and start eating.

"I'm sorry. Things are rather tense right now."

"Don't worry about it. What's going on?"


Rodan helped me sit up and for a while nothing happened, except that every once in a while he made me turn my face in this direction or that. I assume he was doing similar tests to what Jadri had done. His presence and his touch were comforting, and I felt myself relaxing. "I can't find anything wrong with your eyes," he eventually said, "but I'm afraid that there's still a great deal about eyesight loss that we don't know yet."

"He is going to be alright, isn't he?" Jadri asked him.

"I don't know," Rodan said. "I'm sorry."

I heard him get up and move about. "I'm going to give you your medicine now. Are you hungry?"

"No," I said. "That medicine, is it supposed to make me sleep or is it just for the blood loss?"

"Both," he said, "but there's only a small dose of the sleeping draught in it. We need you to be nice and awake in the morning."

He held a cup to my lips and made me drink. After that, he set down the cup and helped me to lie down again. "I wish there was anything I could do for you," he said.

"Thanks," I mumbled, already half-asleep. Maybe it was for the best, I thought. As long as I was asleep I couldn't say anything that would endanger my friends.

From a great distance I could hear Jadri and Rodan talking. They seemed to be arguing, or maybe they were both upset about something. I wanted to tell them that everything would be fine, but my body no longer obeyed me.

And then all was quiet.

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