The first knot was simple and not a knot at all, more like slipping off a tight ring. The second knot was looser, yet proved more resistant. Though easy to undo, it tied itself again. Elymas finally tamped the edges with a flash of thought and the mischief ended.
Now, the third. He strained against it. When the knot didn’t give, the Earth Skyll grew angry and threw out enough curses to shatter rock.
No rocks shattered.
He looked at the woman and flushed. She was watching with the same sort of detachment that he gave his victims. Elymas’s flush deepened as he realized how predictable he’d been.
“Who are you?” he breathed.
The woman ignored his question, but waited to see if he’d try again. When he didn’t, she sat on the edge of the dais. She watched the shadows before she lifted her head and spoke.
“Excuse the constraints. I can’t predict the actions of the frightened or stupid, and you appear to be both. The shadows dislike loud noises, so don’t scream again.”
Elymas, who had been on the verve of doing just that, shut his mouth abruptly.
‘If I remove the constraints, will you promise not to scream?”
Cold, unseen fingers now pressed around his throat. With barely enough air to breath, Elymas made a guttural sound of assent.
She muttered something and the final knot vanished. He slumped forward like a depleted wine bladder.
“You are beautiful.” Strange that this would be his first response but it was a strange night. He said the first thing that came to his head. “What is your name?”
“I am called Rizla the Red Witch. Perhaps you have heard of me?”
She hopped on the dais and stood before him, flashing a smile.
Elymas and laughed at her audacity. Rizla was one of the most powerful players in the Dark One’s world. She was good. Very, very, good. He ached to break her.
“You are incredible!” He flung out the compliment without meeting her eyes. Nor would he dwell on her nubile body. He’d no more time to waste. It was growing late, and the stump needed to be watered with the blood of the waiting sacrifice. Even so, he asked, “Before I go, I must know. What is the name of the link that bound me?”
“The third link is of my own making and can’t be revealed,” the woman calling herself Rizla said this without the slightest trace of fear. Elymas felt his amusement flee.
“Come now,” he said, “You can’t be Rizla.”
“Because I’m Elymas and I would know!”
“As you say. Watch this.”