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Oblivion's Light

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Nyssa awoke, somewhat groggily, to the sounds of strings and brass. The dusty old record player her father loved had been started and the symphonic bliss surrounded Nyssa. She was absolutely sure it was about five minutes into Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. How those strings danced together, cavorting rhythmically. She let out a sigh and closed her eyes to take in the music, the events of the past few days trickling away in its presence.

"Good morning, sis," Talia strode in to Nyssa's bedroom, armed with a large brass pot and two ceramic cups. Nyssa sat up suddenly, on the defensive. Her sister's voice had that immediate effect on her.

"You sure are spry today!" Talia played, pouring them both what smelled like a strong jasmine tea. Nyssa stared at her sister. "Why are you here, Talia?" It wasn't the most friendly way to greet family, but her younger sister really didn't deserve Nyssa's definition of friendly.

Talia looked up at Nyssa, her dark brown eyes smiling at the corners. "I am just glad that you are alive... you know, not an invalid pumped with viper venom." She reached out to hand the teacup to Nyssa. Nyssa sat still in the bed, uncomfortable and slightly flushed.

"I heard that city girl, the one you saved from the ocean, had her way with you in the Mountain. I guess some things never change," Talia flippantly remarked, setting the teapot and Nyssa's cup down on the table.

Nyssa bristled with anger. "So, you came here to tell me how weak I am, then? How trite."

Talia's curled, long brown hair shook as she giggled. "No, dear sister, I came to let you know that father and I are departing in the morning for a job. How disappointed father was when you turned up at Nanda Parbat all full of poison and not making any sense... you were supposed to be accompanying him on this business trip, not me."

Nyssa felt shame emerge as tension in her shoulders; she stared at Talia, who was clearly not done with her bravado.

"I was sorry to hear that I was your swift replacement. But, you know, I really need to thank that girl... Sara, sometime, for creating this wonderful opportunity for me!" Talia finished her tea and stood, her black dress flowing behind her. She turned to leave, and then re-thought it, throwing in another dig at her sister as Nyssa sat propped up, silently.

"Father spared her life for some ridiculous reason. He fully expects her to be trained and ready for deployment in the field when we return from our hunt. We're going after the wizard, sis." Her whole face was lit with dark purpose and Nyssa glared. She felt enraged-- working with her father to find that traitorous defector, Merlyn, had been her prize for her continuously excellent service to the League. And now, Talia had taken that from her like the slimy opportunist she had always been.

The door shut and Nyssa pounded her fists on the silk sheets. She stared out the window. Her body felt lithe and ready to move. She recalled being suspended in her father's Lazarus Pit, having those sensations of remedial wholeness usher in through her body as the toxins and lethargy seeped out into the pool. An equivalent exchange of energy. She was beginning to figure out how to leverage the Pits to heal a person more than once... That information would be hers only to keep.

She sighed, closing her eyes, pushing the anger down her throat and channeling it into her stomach. Talia had nothing better to do with her pathetic life than to goad her sister. Nyssa wouldn't take it-- she let her energy focus, collecting her drive.

Her thoughts turned to training Sara. That was her prime directive now, and she had sworn a blood oath to becoming the girl's teacher at the initial Trial. It seemed so strange that this was playing out. Nyssa had never been beaten by someone before, not since Talia had tricked her years ago... in a cruel fashion. Sara presented a challenge, in so many ways, to Nyssa.

Part of her fought that knowledge and part of her eagerly welcomed it. So much of her routine and life had been so banal, crude even. Being in Sara's presence felt uncanny, yet completely natural. And how she had surprised Nyssa in the cavern... it astounded Nyssa to think of the intricacy of the plan. She was curious as to where Sara had procured the aerial silk. Re-playing the scene in her mind again and again, Nyssa alighted on Sara's fall. It had looked like the woman was flying down toward her, the darkness of the fabric unraveling so fast and Sara's blonde hair generating a halo of light. The vision was powerful and ached in Nyssa's mind.

Nyssa had a deep understanding of the baseline she had to work with for training Sara. What incredible potential, she thought. Part of her recognized that desire existed along with that acknowledgment of Sara's potential.

Having being brought to the brink of death and back by the woman had sparked something in Nyssa-- a fire sat in her bones and slowly consumed her, licking at her muscles and teasing her skin.

It was time to go collect her pupil.