BLIND SIGHT c Lyn Nichols +lt;CIS 71574,3436+gt; 8/93 +quot;What would happen if you dove

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BLIND SIGHT c Lyn Nichols 8/93 "What would happen if you dove into the Seeing Pool?" Kitry asked in an offhand manner. She was idly twirling the base of her wine glass in lazy circles on the table-top, and her green eyes were staring intently at something over my left shoulder. I suppressed an urge to turn and look, knowing I wouldn't see whatever it was that she did. When first I met her, she would stare off at something, and invariably I would turn, trying to see what fascinated her so. Finally, one day, I asked her. Laughing, she told me she was blind. I stared at her. Her eyes glanced at me, moved past, finally settled on something to my right. I stumbled around in my mind for something to say, to answer her question, but my mind kept hitting one great big road block. Jumping into the Seeing Pool was heresy! Plain and simple... But then I thought, she didn't suggest we do it, she only speculated on what might happen. She did this to me a lot; asking questions that danced on the edges of blasphemy. We were both acolytes of the Holy Order, learning the various skills of weaponcraft, healing, magework; you know, the usual. I was of the Second Level--a Black Robe; officially a Lesser Priest or Teacher Priest. I was working on fine tuning my skills, preparing for the final examinations that would determine whether I would be allowed to don the White Robe of a Questor. Kitry was a newly anointed Blue Robe; a Third Level acolyte, learning the free magics. And she had been assigned to me for instruction. Thinking back, now, I am sure she was a part of my examinations. She exercised my abilities and my resourcefulness; how do you teach a blind person the freedom of sight--the most integral part of the free magics? She tested my pride and humility--achieving the Blue in less than five years when it had taken me fifteen; and she sorely stretched my patience and belief--by asking questions like this... "Rand," she persisted softly, now looking directly at my nose. I caught myself crossing my eyes and looked at her instead. "Rand... what do you suppose would happen?" "You would be flogged, or worse, for committing sacrilege," I answered evasively. I knew she was fully aware of the punishments; you learn those as a Gray robed novice. She was asking what would happen on the nonphysical plane. It was a perfectly logical question, considering she was learning the free magics, which consisted of the arts of communication, motion and sight. We had visited the Seeing Pool--a quiet, waveless pond hidden in the deepest part of the Sacred Caves--earlier that morning. I didn't expect much to happen, considering that she was blind and all. Surprisingly, when she gazed at the Pool, she could see the tableau as easily as I. Testing her, I asked for specific details; she described the hilt of the sword of the warrior we were watching. Still testing her, I sprinkled some aminta over the water to change the scene. Without prompting, she described the playful antics of a pair of river otters that appeared, giggling at their frolics, exclaiming sadly when a hunter's arrow pierced one of the sleek bodies. In an attempt to redirect the conversation--one of my biggest failings is that I have a hard time even imagining breaking a rule; I tend to feel guilty and break out in a cold sweat--I asked her, "Would you like more wine?" "No," she replied, tilting her glass at me. Her eyes seemed to look directly at it as she remarked, "I still have plenty." It was true, still half full. "How did you know?" She giggled. It was a lovely sound, light and natural. "I can feel it, silly. My hands aren't blind!" Her eyes darted to my lap, stayed there. I fought an overwhelming urge to squirm, feeling naked under her blind gaze. "I know the punishments," she started before I could think of anything else to say. "I was just wondering; would you end up at the scene you were watching? Or would you just get very wet?" "Wet." I was decidedly uncomfortable. And it wasn't because of the topic anymore. Kitry isn't what you would call a classic beauty, but she isn't ugly by a long shot. And having her emerald-colored eyes staring directly at my private parts was... disconcerting. I knew she couldn't see anything--she's blind, remember--but I could feel myself stirring, and a hot flush was suffusing my body. It was embarrassing, to say the least. To extricate myself, I rose to my feet, saying, "Let's get some sleep, it's getting late." A lame excuse, I know. Standing, Kitry's head barely came to my chin, and the soft folds of her sky blue robe emphasized the soft swells of her body. Swallowing, I turned away, but her image seemed burned into my eyes. I could still see the gentle swell of her breasts, the delicious outline of her hips flaring from her tiny waist. And her hair. I've always had a weakness for blondes, but Kitry has this amazing, thick, knee-length auburn hair that swirls and eddies around her with a life of it's own... As if sensing my feelings--for a blind girl, she is terribly observant--she moved toward me, stopping just short of touching me. She raised her face to mine, whispered, "Yes," then, taking my hand, led me to her room. She may be blind, but that night she showed me things I'd never seen before... Part of my duties as Kitry's teacher--besides teaching her the free arts--was to continue to exercise and refine those skills she had learned in the lower levels. I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical of how well trained she could be... how does a blind person hunt with a bow, or fight with a sword? Thinking to build her confidence before reporting her failure, I first had her demonstrate her skills in those areas where sight was not needed. She was an adept healer; her earth magic--communion with growing things--was better than mine; she could fashion a sword or bow that was balanced to perfection. Finally, we came to those areas I knew she could not succeed in. Friend, was I wrong... Kitry's ears and nose were more than compensation for her eyes. And she proved it to me. She could find and bring down game that I hadn't known was near, her arrows leaping with a life of their own to find their mark. She only asked one concession to her blindness... when we practiced archery against a target, she had me tap the center, just once. Okay, I admit it, she surprised me there... but in a fight? Yes. In a fight. In my arrogance, I had assumed that my eyes made me a superior fighter. Kitry convinced me otherwise. She told me later, after she had thrashed me several times with both sword and knife, that she could feel my movements even as I made them. She could hear the voice of the sword or knife, telling her where it was at. And she could smell me. With the rod it was no different. And I knew she could wrestle... Since she needed no improvement in her current skills, we turned our attention completely to learning the free magic. Even in this, she surprised me. I would stumble over a visual explanation, and somehow, she would translate it into the other senses, even as I spoke. She enjoyed each and every new thing I taught her, excelling in even the difficult, hard earned skills of teleportation and shapechanging. But at the end of each session, she would ask about the Seeing Pool. The last time I saw her, about a year ago, the subject of the Pool had come up again... "Where are the things that we see in the Pool?" she asked me. "Anywhere... Everywhere," I answered. "The Yellow Robes say that it shows both this world and others. Some are said to be able to control the visions, seeing where they would, rather that where the Pool chooses." "Why, do you think, can I see it?" "I don't know... " It was something that had bothered me, too. I picked carefully through my subconscious, finding the fragments of an idea. I spoke slowly, trying to let the words put the pieces of my thoughts together, hearing them even as they escaped my lips. "Maybe... maybe because the Seeing Pool is only a focus... something to keep the eyes... busy. Maybe the visions... maybe they are actually projected inside the head?" "No." "Then what?" I was frustrated by her easy dismissal of my explanation. It had sounded plausible to me. Hearing the edge in my voice, she reached for my hand. Out of habit, I gave it to her. Her eyes pierced my left shoulder as she spoke softly, "I didn't mean to sound so abrupt," she began in apology, "But if it were in my head, I would see it differently than you do. I see with my ears, my nose, my skin... not with my eyes. Color means nothing to me, my world is full of noises and smells and textures. And yet, at the Pool, I see." She squeezed my hand fiercely, emphasizing her point. I was astonished to see tears sliding down her cheeks. Gently, I brushed them from her face. Hers was not a face that should cry. "Rand, do you understand what I'm saying?" she asked me softly. "I'm not sure..." Kitry raised both of her hands to my face, ran them lightly over the surface of it. "I see you like this," she explained. "I know your smell, I can feel the echoes of your vibrations in the air around you. I can tell your footfalls in a crowd." Her hands were on my chest, and they clenched the fabric with an intensity that almost frightened me. "I don't know what color your hair is, though, or the color of your eyes." I pulled her against my chest and held her within the circle of my arms as sobs racked her delicate frame. I had never realized how much the Seeing Pool would hurt her. Long ago, she had convinced me that her blindness was no handicap, and at times, I was envious of her ability with the other senses. Being dependent upon sight, as I was, meant being dependent upon light. Kitry could see equally well in the darkest night or the densest fog. And yet, she was envious of the rest of us. She saw so much more than we, and she was jealous. "Kitry, don't cry," I begged. "Sight is a crutch, nothing more. What is there to see, that you don't?" Raising her tear-stained face, she touched my lips with her fingers. Her wandering eyes resting on my right ear. "You," she whispered. She must have felt my shock at her one word, and explained in a tiny voice made raspy by her tears, "When we were at the Seeing Pool, a few days ago, I raised my eyes to where you stood. Although I could still see what was in the Pool, I couldn't see you... Anything, everything, except that damn Pool is the same. And it won't show me the one thing I want to see... You!" That night, I held her in my arms until the first of the sun's rays painted the darkness with streaks of imminent dawn. While she had slept, my mind struggled with a way to show her the one thing she wanted to see. I didn't consider us lovers, we were too close for that. We were friends. And I felt her pain as acutely as if it were my own. By dawn, I had made up my mind. I rose quietly, dressed, and left the room, moving swiftly 'ere I had a chance to think what I was doing and change my course. I am a bit overproud, perhaps, that I carried through with it. I just hope that Kitry figured it out, and comes to the Seeing Pool occasionally, to see me.

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