A thought. A whisper. A distance voice. One that sounded like one of her own.
How was it that she heard it, down here in the flaming depths? They couldn’t be nearby. This cavern was vast, swarming with lesser hounds. No voice would carry so far. And it barely felt like a voice, but rather a touch on her mind.
She began to wander. It had been many years since she had gone so far from the fires, into the cold depths of the outer cracks and tubes. Yet the voice seemed louder there, somehow. Almost as if it was leading her, though she could not make out what it said. If nothing else, it was a novelty. Something to pursue after untold ages of screams and fighting and fire.
At last, in the farthest crevice, farther than she’d ever bothered to go, she saw a light. A light untinged by the ashes and brimstone. A light that reminded her of long ago, when the ceiling was far away and blue, dominated by a searing white fire.
Through that tiny crack, she heard the whisper stronger than ever. She could make out words, now. Just casual thoughts. Someone on patrol, perhaps. Undeniably one of her own kind. But also a thread that she knew too well. The desire for power. For self-determination. The belief that the limitations of the fairfolk’s tribal ways were holding them back.
Somehow, that connected them. The first connection she had had to the overworld since she’d been trapped here. Perhaps, she could reach back. With as much force as she could muster, trying to remember the dusty protocols of magical focus, she reached out. With empathy. With promises. With threats. Whatever it took to get their attention.
And the small crack widened, ever so slightly.