The blindness persisted for a long while. I stayed inside Jaiden's room, unable to do anything else. My friends came and went throughout the days, but it was Aloron and my father who came back the most, just to hear me talk about what I had seen. They desired to see what I had even if it meant total blindness for the rest of their lives. I agreed completely. What I saw was so magnificent, so thrilling, so wonderfully unique that I would gladly live blind for the rest of my life. I wouldn’t have traded anything for it. I would always have the times I had seen and talked with Jesiah, and now this memory to recall, as well. I mulled over our conversations, seeking Truth in them. Truth was all I ever found. Besides those activities, I found myself praying quite a bit. I prayed for friends and, after a bit of sulking, my enemies. I prayed that God would guide us in the ways He had planned. I prayed for peace within the camp; the Centaurs had been troublesome lately.
I was lying in the bed, eyes staring in the direction of the ceiling, when I heard a knock at the window. I walked easily over to it—I had measured how many steps it took to get there—and worked the shutters open.
"Hail, Gabrithon," I greeted.
"So you really are blind," a female voice said.
"Vincentia? Yes, I am. I cannot see a thing."
"You poor thing," she said then paused. "What exactly caused you to go blind? I mean, there's a rumor going around that you saw a god! Was it the great stallion?"
"I didn't see a god. I saw the God. Or His glory, at least," I said with a smile.
"What's the difference?"
So I told her of Jesiah and the story of the world as told by the scrolls. When I stopped the story, she urged me to continue.
"I cannot," I said sadly. "Though we have the fifth scroll, or part of it at least, it hasn't been read, not to me or to anyone else."
"Tell me of how you went blind then."
I did so and she frowned.
"This God of yours doesn't seem to be like any god I've ever heard of."
"He's amazing, isn't he?" I asked as I perched on the windowsill.
"He's…odd," she said, sounding unsure. "Doesn't He demand sacrifices?"
"My father said there used to be a bunch of laws in place that told how sacrifices should be done and when to do them. There were a lot of bulls, rams, sheep, lambs, birds, and other animals sacrificed at the old Temple that was destroyed. They even said there were celebrations like the Passover where they slaughtered animals. In the Passover's case, it was a lamb. That was how you stayed right with God. Father said that's useless now, though he's not sure why. Something about a Perfect Lamb, but that's all he can remember."
"Oh," she sounded stunned. "Well, that's certainly something. A few generations ago we used to sacrifice children to our stallion. The practice was stopped by one of the kings, who didn't want to sacrifice the particular child he was supposed to."
"That's horrible!" I gasped. "I really don't think our God would have us sacrifice our children to Him! That's just not right."
"It isn't. The females never liked it, except the extremely devoted ones. Who wants to sacrifice their foal to something we cannot even see? It's ridiculous."
"Well, in God's case, the One True God that is, just because you cannot see or hear him doesn't mean he's not there. You have to know He's there. Just look at His marvelous creation."
Vincentia suddenly paused a moment. "What an odd coincidence," she said. "At this very moment, the most beautiful blue and green butterfly has chosen to land on my shoulder." She went silent for about two minutes then sighed. "It is gone. Your words hold weight. I shall consider them carefully Filynora."
I suddenly felt a tug on my sleeve and nearly fell out the window. The Centaur queen caught me and helped me balance again.
"What was that?" I heard a little whinny. "Nora?"
"Yes," Vincentia said. "She was half asleep. Not anymore."
"Poor little thing," I said, "standing there while we talk. She must be bored to death."
"Not really. She's trying to catch all the butterflies out here. It's the perfect entertainment for her."
Before I could say anything else, there was a knock at the door. I instinctively turned my head to look where the door was.
"Come in," I said, raising my voice slightly.
"Fily!" Elthinor said happily, and I heard his footsteps.
He clicked his tongue then he touched my hand lightly. Since I jumped every time somebody touched me without warning, Valtrak had suggested the tongue click to tell me when they were going to touch me in any way, whether it be taking my hand or touching my shoulder. I knew to expect it, I just didn't know where.
"How are you?" he asked, tracing his finger around my skin gently.
I smiled. "Blind."
"Well, I wish I could change that," he said. "Even though you've made your position on being blind or not seeing God quite clear."
"It's irritating, but well worth what I saw," I said softly.
"Hello, Vincentia," Elthinor said, and I could hear the patient smile in his voice.
"And how are you this fine day?"
"I am well. But I do have business to attend to, so if you'll excuse me. Come along, Nora."
"Goodbye," I said, waving.
I sat there quietly for a minute or two, just thinking. Elthinor didn't move either, or at least, not audibly. I stirred from my reverie and turned my head to 'look' where I thought Elthinor was. He placed his finger on my chin and turned it a little more.
"I'm right here," he said, no trace of disdain or amusement in his voice. He clicked his tongue and kissed my forehead. "I'm supposed to take you to the Elf camp. The Elf king and the Dwarf king want proof that you're blind. They both say that they won't go to war without you."
I was hesitant to go out. The Elf camp was close by, yes, but I was used to seeing where I was going. Sighing, I finally nodded.
"Don't let go," I said after he had gripped my hand, sounding scared even to my own ears.
After I had tripped four times just two minutes from the house, Elthinor stopped pulling me along and came around behind me. True to his word, he kept his hand in mine, but he placed the other on my shoulder and stayed close enough that we were almost touching. I could hear my name being whispered all around us; my hearing had greatly improved since I had gone blind. I tried to ignore them. Suddenly the whispers started to get quieter then gradually died away. I could hear heavy steps that didn’t sound Human.
"Gabrithon?" I guessed.
The sound of his hoof steps skipped. "How in the world did you know I was here? Unless of course, you can see again?" the Centaur finished hopefully.
"No. I heard you. And you made everybody stop whispering. Were you glaring at them or something?"
Gabrithon laughed softly. "Yes, Fily, I was. Would you like a ride?"
"I've got her, Gabrithon," Elthinor said. "Unless you would be more comfortable?"
"It's fine, Elthinor. Unless I hurt myself, I think I'll walk."
We walked for a while then stopped, Elthinor helping me to sit.
"I'll be right back, Fily. I have to go get the kings. Gabrithon's right beside you."
I sat there calmly, not afraid of being hurt. Everybody knew not to harm me. I heard voices drawing nearer, Elthinor and Korvict then Lolaiken. I stood to greet them, hearing Gabrithon walking forward to do the same, when, without any warning whatsoever, hands seized my arms. I screamed, jolting backward. When the arms didn't let go, the word enemy flashed through my mind, so I swept his legs out from under him, falling with him to pin his arms to the ground. I grabbed the knife at my hip with one hand then pressed it to skin.
"Fily! Stop! It's Lochanor!" Elthinor cried out, and I heard him run forward.
He clicked his tongue then helped me up. I guided my knife back to the sheath and pressed back against my Elven friend. That had scared me. It truly had. Lochanor had made no noise, not a "Hello" or even footsteps. I snarled as a possible reason for that hit me.
"Where are Korvict and Lolaiken?" I asked.
"Right here, my dear," Korvict said. Elthinor clicked his tongue behind me right before I felt a clearly Dwarvish hand touching mine.
"Which one of you thought to test my blindness by doing that?" I demanded harshly, though I didn't jerk my hand out of the king's.
"That would be me," Lolaiken said, sounding embarrassed. "I was hoping that you were faking your blindness. I've never seen you look scared like that before. I suppose that you must be blind."
"Just look at her eyes!" Elthinor said angrily, hugging me tightly.
There were footsteps, and my Elven friend clicked his tongue again. Fingers touches my cheeks and somebody was suddenly close enough that I could feel his breath on me.
"They're…they're white!" Lolaiken exclaimed. "That's impossible!"
"Not for Dwarves," Korvict said. "But it does look quite odd on her. Besides that, the part of her eye that should be colored does not move to follow you when you change places, Lolaiken. If that doesn't prove she's blind, I don't know what does."
"Then we have a problem," the Elf said seriously.
"You can't pull out of this war!" I exclaimed suddenly, reaching forward and catching his arm as he withdrew his hand.
"Filynora, I absolutely refuse to fight if you're not with us," Lolaiken said sternly. "Korvict is in agreement with me."
"As am I," Gabrithon said suddenly.
I froze. "What? Gabrithon, you can't be serious! You have to fight!"
"I won't go into battle without you."
"Why not? I won't miss anything."
"No, but God is in your favor. If we go without you, we'll all die."
"You don't even believe in God!" I growled. "So why would it matter if I'm in His favor? He's all powerful. He certainly doesn't need me to win His battles."
There was silence. I stomped my foot in irritation, wishing desperately to see his face. I walked toward where the voice had come from, Elthinor guiding me. I found myself touching his side once we had stopped walking, and I had reached out. I heard the swish of Gabrithon's tail.
"Your pride is no different than your father's," I said softly. "You refuse to admit that you might even possibly be wrong. You're stubborn. Why? What are you so afraid of?"
"I don't need another father," Gabrithon said after a long pause. I could hear the bitterness in his voice.
"This one is the perfect Father," I said gently. "But you know something? It doesn't matter if you tell me anything. It's between you and God."
I removed my hand and pressed back into Elthinor so we could back up a little bit.
"Let's go. Can you take me back to Leah's?" I asked my Elven companion.
He guided me back until I smelled the flowers that signified we were almost there. I touched the doorpost to the house and broke away from Elthinor. I knew the house quite well. I did bump into something on the floor, but I managed to get to what was practically my room at this point. I moved to the bed, and there was a click in front of me. I paused.
"Who's there?" I asked, backing up a step and placing a hand on my knife hilt.
"Relax, daughter of mine," my father said.
"Yes, child, come here. We have an idea," Aloron said.
"What would that be, Grandfather?" Elthinor asked from the doorway behind me.
I walked forward, and I heard them shifting on the bed. One of them took my arm and guided me in between them.
My father cleared his throat. "Now, for both of us, prayer has been a powerful force in our lives. It has not just given us support, but a way to talk to God. It is an anchor in every storm, and yet another blessing in times of peace. In many instances in what were letters written to the early Jesites, there are words like 'Are there any among you who are sick? If so, let the elders come and pray for him. The prayer of faith shall save the sick.'"
"Elyosius told me this, and I suggested we try this for you. I do not know what an elder is, but we have both been believers for the longest time. Maybe our prayers can heal your blindness."
"I suppose we can try it," I said. "How does this work?"
They pressed their hands onto my shoulders, Aloron's on one side, my father's on the other. There was silence, and I wondered if they were going to pray out loud.
"I'll go first," Elyosius finally said. "My most wonderful, glorious, holy Father in Heaven. You are the most amazing Being that we will ever know. You are more powerful than we will ever truly understand. You, in your perfect wholeness, created everything out of nothing. You were an Artist with no paint, and You still brought forth color and life. We thank You for that because You still made us even though You knew of our rebellion beforehand."
He stopped so Aloron began. "You are great and amazing. Since You made life, You are aware of every aspect of it, and You can change whatever You want. Your will is beyond us, but we trust in You that You know what You're doing. We pray now for Filynora, that You would restore her sight, which she lost beholding Your glory. I would give anything to see it in this life, but I am assured of it in the next. I have confessed and am trying to forsake my sins, but it is a long process. I pray for Your patience."
My father spoke after a pause. "I know You have the power to heal my daughter. If it is in Your will, I know it shall be done. And may Your will be done forever and always. In Jesiah's precious name, we pray."
And they both said. "Amen."
I blinked. Everything was still dark. "Oh well," I said with a shrug.
"Well, it was worth a try," Aloron said.
"You know something?" Elyosius asked, a smile in his voice. "Sometimes His answer is 'Yes.' Sometimes His answer is 'No.' And sometimes His answer is 'Wait.' He might still heal her. It might be a while. Not everything is instantaneous."
"We'll see," I said with a smile.
"Now, Filynora," Aloron said, a lilting quality to his voice.
"I'll tell you again," I said with a soft smile. "It started when Nolan's designs faded. I saw a bright flash of light…"
Three days passed, but my blindness persisted. Then on the third day, my eyes started to itch. I was constantly blinking and rubbing them. I withstood the almost painful sensation for three more days. I was nearly driven crazy by it. One night, as I ate my supper, I resolved to have the first person through the door in the morning look at my eyes. I barely slept, making it the fourth night I had lost sleep. Leah was the first one in, but she was busy and handed me my plate, then all I heard was hurried footsteps. I ate everything on my plate, set it on the bedside table, and sulked. I was viciously rubbing my eyes again when there was a knock on the door.
"Come in!" I spat harshly, too irritated to care that I was rude.
"Fily?" Elthinor asked, hurrying in. "What's wrong?"
"My eyes! They itch, Elthinor!" I was practically in tears. "It won't stop. Something has to be wrong! Please look at them."
"How long have they been itching?" Elthinor asked, his voice getting closer before he settled on the bed.
"This is the fifth day," I admitted.
"You should have told me sooner, Fily," he admonished gently.
He clicked his tongue, and both of his hands touched my face, one above my left eye, the other below it. He stretched my eye open and hummed softly.
"There's something there," he said slowly, sounding a little surprised. "I'm going to touch your eye and see if I can get it out."
He clicked his tongue again, but I instinctively flinched and tried to close my eye as he touched it. His fingers pinched together, and he pulled back his hand. The air was suddenly freezing against my eye and I actually did close it. There was a long silence.
"It's some kind of film," he said, and I knew he was studying it. "Let me see your other eye."
He clicked his tongue, placed his hands on my face, and stretched my right eye open. I kept my left eye closed because when I attempted to open it, it burned from the cold air. He pinched his fingers together again, and suddenly the other eye was burning, too. I closed them both and kept them closed. Elthinor was silent. I fluttered my eyelids several time until my eyes no longer burned. I opened them, and my jaw dropped. For there in front of me was Elthinor, studying two curved films that had been over my eyes. I could see! He finally hummed and got up, walking over to the window and flicking the films outside. He moved back over to the bed, sitting down to look at me. He promptly froze.
"Fily, your eyes! They're back to normal!" he gasped. "Does that mean…?"
"I can see!" I crowed happily, leaping off the bed and dancing around.
He jumped up and picked me up under my arms, spinning me around. Lowering me back to the floor and smiling happily, he pressed a kiss to my forehead. There was a knock on the door. I raced over to fling it open to see my father and Aloron. I saw them stare at my eyes, and hope flared on their faces.
"I can see!" I assured them; suddenly I was in two embraces.
"It worked!" Elyosius cried out joyfully. "Thank you God! Thank you so much!"
Aloron was thanking God, too. So was Elthinor. I did, too, with no hesitation. It was a miracle. A true miracle. And God was the only one who could pull off one of those.
"What now, daughter of mine?" Elyosius asked when our jubilee was done.
"Now we need to go talk to Korvict and Lolaiken," I said firmly. "And tell them we're all going to battle. How are the plans coming along for that, Elthinor?"
"Before you went blind, we were letting the Centaurs in on the plans. We're as ready as we'll ever be."
"I want us ready to march in one week. I've been praying about this, and I think God gave me the answer. We'll circle wide and come around to face the city."
"Let's go tell everybody the good news. And then the plans," Aloron said. "Now explain to us how she is suddenly seeing."