GUESS WHO IS BACK IN THE LAND OF THE INSPIRED! -victory dance- This one is the long dreaded (on my part) change in narrators as I try to make Mya's actions more ambiguously motivated.

Blind Girl in the Dark
Spoiler
Show
What would she do without me? Oh I could think of a few things. For one she would never leave that library. She would never touch that long brown hair of hers that drove me mad with envy. It was all messy tonight, tangled and sweaty, pulled out of her face into a pony tail. Anything out of her sight was irrelevant to her. She would lose pencils in those little pointed ears of hers all the time if I weren't there to pull them out for her. No one would know that in the dimmest light, when it was not quite dark, those blue eyes of hers actually glowed with some sort of faint, magical light. She'd probably already be some kind of stuffy professor at the university! Who wanted that?! Sometimes I thought she forgot that we were only seventeen. Like she thought she was going to die not knowing everything there was to know about everything.

I was day dreaming again, ignoring what my friend was actually saying. It was boring anyway. She was reciting the Brotherhood's oath to me.

"Sam! Come on, focus. Technically this is supposed to be memorized beforehand!" She snapped and I knew something was actually wrong. Mya was in some sort of trouble. Her pace was too quick, irritated. Where had all this stuff about the Brotherhood come from in the first place?

"Mya? You're sort of scaring me." I ventured.

"What?! No I'm not!" She said way too defensively.

"Mya...did something bad happen?"

"No! I mean...yes. It was my dad..." The thought of the man sent a shiver down my spine. I couldn't account for it but the unquestionably kind man had always terrified me. It didn't matter how many times I had dinner with her family, how many stories Mya told me about the man, or how well he got along with my dad, something about him gave me the creeps. I always hated when people said Mya was just like him. Her aunts and uncle would always say she was a miniature copy of her father. They didn't know her like I did.

"...so apparently my family is cursed and everybody here is crazy so I just need to leave town, okay? Because I'm the only sane one!" I had been daydreaming again. I had missed what she was so upset about!

"Uh...you sound real sane." I ventured.

"You know what? That's what Inara said. She said I was scaring her. Well you know what's scaring me? Everything! So I'm going to leave but I have to join the brotherhood so my dad knows I'm coming back!" I had never seen her so panicked.

"Hey, it's okay." I said softly, giving her a quick hug. "I don't really understand, but if you have to leave then you have to leave. You don't have to explain yourself to me."

"Good!" She said quickly. "Now pop quiz, what tenants do you vow to uphold as an agent of the Brotherhood?"

I sighed. "Uh...peace, secrecy and...uh."

"Autonomy. Both of the organization from outside influences, and of outside governments and organizations from Brotherhood rule. Remember: ours is not to rule, but to guide from the shadows." She supplied.

"Yeah...right." I muttered.

The entire walk back to her house was a never ending quiz on brotherhood tenants. I tried to change the subject, but Mya seemed to be stuck on this. She barked, and quoted and recited the entire way home and I had no way to determine what was really bothering my friend.

I followed her into her house, past the barely used sitting room and the kitchen where her mom made the best apple pies, making for the library. It seemed Mya always knew where her father was, and it seemed like they were both always in the library. It was a modest room with a massive bookshelf that took up the back wall. Everything here was exclusive, not for me. There was a chair for Mya and one for her dad, a lamp and a table for them both to share, a special nook for her journal and one for his spell book, a desk for her and a desk for him. It always made me feel unwelcome, as if I were spying on something sacred and special. Come to think if it, all this furniture was older than Mya, it was probably meant to be shared with her mother. It was a funny thought, Mrs.Collins taking a break from her cooking and tinkering to sit down and read.

I was daydreaming again. Mr.Collins had been in the library after all and Mya was talking to him, but not really looking at his eyes. She was pacing, which was never a good sign.

"You see, I've put this off too long already. I'm a sorcerer of more than adequate skill for fieldwork and I uncovered the Brotherhood on my own several years ago. It is customary to make an offer on the spot in that circumstance in order to keep the investigator's mouth shut about the organization."

"You were thirteen." He chuckled. "I had ways of keeping you quiet. I believe I offered you extra dessert if you didn't tell your mother."

"I'm joining, unless you're going to deny the request of two potentially dedicated and useful agents." Mya was serious as the grave.

"Samantha is joining too?" He looked worried for me and I instantly felt horrible for being so scared of him. "Sam, is this really what you want?"

"Um, yes sir!" I blurted out uncertainly.

"It's a life oath. You can't walk away once you're in." He warned.

"If Mya is going, I'm not gonna get left behind." I gave her a little squeeze from the side that I could tell completely ruined her attempt at looking confident and independent. She huffed, but her father smiled.

"Very well. As long as she has you to keep her from getting in too deep. Remember, we have all kinds of research and magic studies branches. There's no reason for you two to be doing field work for the rest of your lives."

"I won't be." She said gravely, with a strange smile. "In a few years, I'm going to take over."

I wanted to slap her for saying that to her dad. No matter how much I didn't like him, he didn't deserve to have his own daughter challenge his leadership like that. Gods, in this business, that statement could easily be a death threat!

To my surprise the man returned the strange smile. It was chilling coming from him and I quickly forgot that I had been feeling sorry for him. He leaned over and ruffled her hair affectionately, or maybe condescendingly? Was he putting her in her place?

"I took over when I was twenty three years old." He smirked. "The youngest leader in our history and the longest serving. Think you can beat me?"

"I'm going to be much better than you ever were." She said confidently. What was going on?! These two were inseparable just this morning.

Mr.Collins broke the tension with a quiet smile, and wrapped Mya in a hug. "You already are, kid. I'm proud of you."

Mya tensed, then relaxed and hugged him back. "I love you, Dad."

The hug was over quickly. Mr.Collins conjured the black half-mask that used to give me nightmares as a child and slipped it on. He offered us each a hand. Mya took it without hesitation. I took Mya's instead.

We were teleported to someplace dark and damp. A cold wind blew over us faintly as we stood in the pitch black. It was all the same to me. What's a little darkness to a nearly blind girl?

"We're in the Red Mountains." Mya supplied. Not for my benefit, I thought, but to let him know that she wasn't fooled.

In response, he snapped his fingers and a dancing orb of light appeared in his hand, washing a dim light over us and the cavern walls. They were made of red rock, a stone unique to the Red Mountains. I saw those blue eyes of hers glowing in the dim light and I knew she was pleased.

He began leading us down the cavern wordlessly. It seemed to go on for ages.

"I'm assigning myself to Tel'Dorsil." Mya mentioned.

"We have few contacts in the elven city, and their government is not warlike. What merit do you think it has to divert resources to it?" Mr.Collins answered.

"Their government is isolationist and their magical studies and knowledge are greater than the world outside. I wish to establish a scholarly dialogue with their mage school. Get them to assist in the development of others further south."

"Starting yourself off easy I see. Very well. We have a handful of contacts there who we will alert to your arrival. But you're getting ahead of yourself."

The cavern ended in a small room. The dancing light cast flickering shadows on the walls. The masked man turned to face us and I could see his eyes as blue and alive as his daughter's. Two hooded men stepped out of the shadows to flank him. Their faces were obscured, but they wore the sigil of the Brotherhood, an eye open before a crescent moon, in silver around their necks. Mr.Collins pulled his out as let it hand over his chest, it was old and tarnished from age. He began to speak in a low tone.

"Mya Collins, Samantha Mathews, you stand before us today as strangers, but you will go from us as brothers. From this point there is no turning back. You will pledge to give your lives and your efforts to serve our interests, or you will die."

The hooded figures on each side both slid knives from their sleeves in unison. I gulped, not sure if Mr.Collins would really let us die if we refused. Mya looked unfazed.

"We walk in the shadows. Our eyes are open in the darkness. You pledge today to honor your brothers, to honor our tenets, to honor the balance of power in our world."

"We swear." Mya answered.

"You forfeit your own interests in service to the world. ours is not to rule, but to guide from the shadows. You will never use our assets for personal gain."

"We swear." I joined her that time, muttering weakly. I paled in comparison to her confidence.

"You will sacrifice yourselves for your brothers. You will never leave them behind, and in return they will look after you." I felt he was looking at me when he said that.

"We swear!" I said it a little louder that time. That one was easy. I needed Mya and she needed me.

"Peace, Secrecy, Autonomy." He finished, and the hooded figures muttered it with him, which have me a start. One of them was female...Mrs.Collins?

"Peace, Secrecy, Autonomy." Mya echoed before I could join her. The entire room looked to me expectantly.

"Uh...Peace, Secrecy, Autonomy?" I whimpered desperately. Thankfully they stopped looking at me and moved on.

Mr.Collins stepped forward to Mya first and took his amulet from around his neck. "Welcome, my brother." He smiled as he put his amulet around her neck.

One of the hooded figures approached me. I fidgeted awkwardly until she spoke.

"Welcome, my sister." There was laughter in Mrs.Collins' voice as she tucked a shiny new amulet around my neck. I couldn't see her face, but I knew the woman was laughing at me. I stuck my tongue out at her shyly and I thought I heard her laugh as she stepped back.

"Go now, brothers." He said it pointedly, as if to correct his wife for saying it wrong. "May your eyes be open in the darkness."

We turned around and I realized that the cavern was lit to us somehow. I could see the red stone walls as well as I could have seen in broad daylight. I marveled at the trick until Mya took my hand and led me out.

"It's magic." She chuckled, tapping the amulet. "True sight. Sort of ham handed, yeah?"

I giggled as we wandered through the cavern, wondering if Mr.Collins was going to catch up with us and take us home. "That was really scary."

"Usually there's a blood ritual, but I guess they skipped it for you."

My stomach turned at the thought of blood. "Ugh, I'm glad! I would have run screaming and your mom woulda had to kill me!"

Mya laughed and ran her fingers over the tarnished silver.

"Thanks, Dad." She whispered.

The next step we took yanked us out of the cavern. I could feel the sky above us even if I couldn't see it because of my poor vision. We were back in Driscol. We were outside my house.

Mya chuckled. "I guess this is where we say good bye. I'll see you tomorrow after you pack, alright?"

"Alright, Mya. Goodnight." I said, yawning.

She smiled easily and I hoped she would be okay walking home alone.

"Good night, Sam." My best friend said softly before walking out of my range of sight. I watched her blurred image walk away until I lost her in the darkness.


Now, my next snippet will either be a prequel snippet from Mr.Collins' perspective that starts out like this:
Spoiler
Show
My robes were soaked with blood and ripped to shreds. I had broken another cheap sword, and gods help me there was a bit of flesh caught between my teeth that I couldn’t quite reach. I was making a mess of the carpet. Why had I teleported to the library after sating?

Or the next part of this series that I haven't started writing yet.