Bog's World

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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.
“It is time Lyio.”
Forgileill sighed. She didn’t really feel like a work out. The daily bout of sparing and gymnastics were not what she wanted.
“Not now, Hobhi.”
“Excellence is a matter of choice, not chance.” Said Hobhi.
Forgileill smiled and made to walk out of the Lyrond and back to her suite. Hobhi stepped into her way, grasping her arm and twisting it until Forgileill was on the floor with Hobhi stood over her.
She briefly considered toasting her personal fitness trainer. But Hobhi was actually only obeying her instructions. She need the practice, to avoid becoming rusty. Every day, after breakfast, there was to be an hour of hard exercise. She had made the Lyrond their private gymnastium. There were no interruptions to their schedule, whenever she was in residence, they tumbled and leapt or punched, kicked and threw each other without let or hindrance to the cadence that Hobhi knew so well.
“Very well.” Hobhi released her and she stood up.
“But I’m not grappling today. Floor exercises only.” Hobhi nodded ascent and walked down to the sprung floor below the dais. It wasn’t as if Forgileill was wearing her angry white pyjamas anyway.

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 considered for a moment. “You will take me to them.”
“I will not.”
“Can there be no agreement?”
“I have done as we agreed. My freedom for the service I have already performed.” Her voice was as the whoosh of a bonfire.
“Your service is meaningless if you do not guide me there.” Said Forgileill quietly.
“I care not, your existence is meaningless to me.”
“Then I will be bind you once more.”
Now her voice roared like a furnace. “No? Release me now.”
Forgileill had already gathered her will. She raised both arms straight up in the air above her head. Hobhi watched as she was surrounded by crackling blue light.
The fire of the efreet flared, scorching the exercise mats rolled out over the floor. From her position in the splits, Hobhi collapsed backwards, throwing her legs in the direction she was rolling and springing back off her hands. The aura of fire singed the fine air off her forearms, but she was unhurt by the immolation. She continued her series of handsprings backwards until she was against the wall of the Lyrond.

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.

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