The Need for a Guide
The Year of the Dog (3155) The Flanne month of Readying, The day of the Hearth (the Second day of the Flanne Month. Just after dawn.
Hobhi was waiting in the Lyrond for Forgileill to return. The Udan girl sank to second obedience as Forgileill returned.
Forgileill walked down after her, pulling off the drowic gloves as she walked. She folded them carefully and put them down, She drew a sheathed kynac from one and removing the thigh boots and carefully putting them down as well. She took off her dress and folded that, placing down so that it hid the gloves and boots from the light of day. Gymnastic exercises were done naked, so this was not unusual.
The princess and her taskmaster went through their floor routine. Tumble, step, roll, leap, spin. Tumble step, roll, spin, leap. Tumble, leap, roll, spin, step. It went on. Each time she finished a sequence, Hobhi would perform another and she would have to emulate it. On and on it went. Sometimes the defining feature of a sequence was speed, sometimes it was technical difficulty. When the pupil mastered the technical routines they were done again, faster. Eventually the girls were stretching off at the end of their session. They were both doing the splits and reaching for their toes when the Ereet coalesced in between them.
It appeared as ten foot tall red woman, ‘she’ sneered down at Hobhi. Obviously she fancied her own prowess as a martial artist over that of the small girl from Udas. Forgileill however, held a different opinion. Of course the efreet was more deadly, being made of fire. But she thought it certain that Hobhi had the greater skill.
“They need you.” Came the disembodied female voice, sounding like crackling fire. “They are weak and are failing without you.”
Forgileill was still in the splits, with her arms aloft. The Efreet wailed and poured fire down on her, the shield of blue crackled and spattered, but tendrils of it had already begun to wrap around the sandestine. Slowly the increasing bonds of blue began to suffocate the flames. The whole thing faded from sight, colours finally a shimmering petrol stain in the air, if one looked closely.
Forgileill was sweating profusely. The workout had been hard, but Hobhi guessed that this had been just as much effort. She could see her Lyio’s chest working like a bellows. And the slow smile of triumph at the corners of her mouth.
It might be an hour before she could move without risk of losing the binding, but by nightfall she would be able to dine and bathe, with the Efreet bound to her will. She winked at Hobhi, who laughed at the near escape from death.