BLIND SIGHT c Lyn Nichols +lt;CIS 71574,3436+gt; 8/93 +quot;What would happen if you dove
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
"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
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?"
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
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
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
But at the end of each session, she would ask about the
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
"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?"
"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
"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
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.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank