Walking deeper into the darkness of the rocky tunnel, I realized that the sides and ceiling of the cave were quickly narrowing and the tunnel was shrinking with every step I took. With the ceiling just inches above my head, the tunnel leveled out again and I kept my eyes peeled for Mytal. From Isphalin’s description, I expected him to be a frightening creature whose very presence would startle me, but that wasn’t the case at all. When Mytal appeared, I thought I was imagining things; standing before me was a large creature, but he did not frighten me.
Despite Mytal’s massive horns and jagged teeth, I felt at ease around him. He told me that one of his powers was the ability to calm people; he couldn’t control emotions by any means, but he did possess the skill to make people calm even in the time of a crisis. I informed Mytal that his gift might become useful one day and then I silently questioned where that idea had come from. The mixing between my original ideas and thoughts and my new thoughts was advancing to the point where I was questioning the validity of the old and accepting the new as the solid truth. In my mind, I knew this realization frightened me, but I had no suspicions on how to stop the transition that was occurring.
“My lady, you look puzzled.” Mytal said to me, breaking the silence that we had been walking in.
“Mytal, good sir, I am puzzled.” I informed him, stopping mid-stride.
“The transitory state has her ladyship in a state of bewilderment?” It seemed to be a statement more than it was a question.
“Yes.” I nodded in agreement.
“It will soon be over.” Mytal said soothingly and offering his hand. “I will console her ladyship if she should wish me to do so.”
“Thank you Mytal, but no. I believe I will be fine without consolation.” Walking again, Mytal fell into step beside me.
We continued on in this manner for at least a half-hour before Mytal stopped suddenly beside me. From deep within his throat, I heard a growl rising up from Mytal that frightened me. Apparently, Mytal cannot work his magic to keep people calm while he is attempting to be intimidating. Frantically, I threw my head back and forth, trying to find what had startled Mytal to react in such an extreme manner, but I found nothing and began to worry. The tunnel was immensely dark, I couldn’t see anything, and I had no way to protect myself if we were attacked. Without communicating with me in any way, Mytal managed to place me between him and the wall. Behind me, I felt the rough surface and toothed edges of the wall press lightly into my back. Mytal’s growl continued to grow in volume and deepen in intensity. I knew something was coming, but, because I couldn’t see or hear it, I had no clue what it was going to be when it finally got there.
Anthromagic by Crystal and Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.