For Snippet Sunday, a bit of Hard Time. Vandis in the basement at Knights’ Headquarters.
He wished he’d brought a rag—maybe next time, assuming there was a next time.
There would be one. He knew it. The power seduced him all the way from Windish, beckoned when he was at his desk in the office, enticed while he went about his business. It was always in his mind now, in some way or another. He knew there’d be a next time, and a next, and a next… and he knew why there had been towers for the Black in Dixon Forest. Everyone wanted power, and some were too weak to resist.
Vandis could easily be one of those. He had to be careful.
Pushing his dark thoughts to one side, he drew his knife and this time, pricked only his index finger, on the pad. He squeezed to bring the blood up, took a heavy breath, and touched the magic thing inside the lantern. It took a moment, only just, to leak in at the top. He watched, by candlelight, his blood in the liquid inside, a little curl of deep red.
The magic flared. He fell back, blinded, and landed in an ungraceful heap on the dirt floor—in a pool of the clearest white light.
He sat up, blinking the spots from his eyes, and saw it—drank it in. At first all he saw was the light, cleaner than his candle, steady and bright. His vision adjusted by degrees, until he could see all the way to the back of one column of dirty, dusty shelving, and a little of the next besides. He picked himself up off the floor and lifted the lantern by its rusty handle, carefully. When he raised it higher he saw farther back yet.
Vandis walked through the shelves for he didn’t know how long, admiring the collection.