Will wasn't sure how long he led in the darkness for. When he stirred, his lids felt like iron weights, his limbs like rubber, leading him to believe he had fallen asleep. As he returned to his senses, his thoughts seemed to clear, revealing an idea he had had before he must have been lost to exhaustion;there must be a connection.
He recalled those who had been kidnapped, Carmen, Karn'el, Lady Almara and now Laguna. They were so random, so unconnected that it didn't seem possible. It must be in plain sight, he thought, something that nobody is seeing.
There it was, that voice. It came to him as low as a whisper, the tone as soft as honey. With no distractions, he could finally comprehend with some severity what was happening to him: I'm hearing a voice in my head!
He groaned, disbelieving. He turned from his side onto his front, his face pressed into his pillow. This isn't happening, he thought,this is all in my imagination. This is not real!
'I would beg to differ.' The change of the voice caught his attention. It sounded different, almost teasing, childlike, and it had replied. He sat up abruptly. He couldn't see anything, it didn't feel as if he was sitting on his bed in the dormitory, instead as if he was in the middle of a void, amongst both nothing and everything.
Who are you? What are you? he demanded, subduing the urge to speak aloud. He felt that it would mean he acknowledged the voice, as if he was submitting to his own insanity.
'Nobody,' she said, 'I am nobody.' It felt like there was somebody lying beside him on both sides, standing over him, a melody in his ears from all directions. It was female, he could confirm that much, but nothing more. Each syllable and consonant seemed from a different person, as if a myriad of voices had blended into one ambiguous, angelic sound.
What does that mean? Are you real, or just a hint that I'm a sandwich short of a picnic?
'I am...I am a part of you -,'
Yes, you're A VOICE IN MY HEAD -
'NO,' she said sharply, 'look...'
In front of him, something began to appear, hovering above his lap. It was so small, no larger than a grain of sand, and was embellished in such a bright glow that he could see his surroundings, the walls of his curtains, the tousled covers at his feet and the deep groves in the carvings of his bed posts. Against the darkness, Will imagined that he was staring up at the night sky, like he was gazing at a distant star, now so close that he could touch it.
'If I was simply madness, I could not do this,' she said. Will noticed that the glow ebbed to the pitch of her voice. 'Do you see, Willow Avaric? Do you see me?'
'Why...' he said, finally out loud, a hand angled protectively against his eyes. 'Why haven't I seen you - whatever you are - like this before?'
'Do not believe that this is my true physical form. I am within you in a way that you can never see me, but I am able to deceive your eyes, to allow you to see an illusion. It is for your benefit...to make it easier on you.' Her voice echoed like through a hollow device, or from a great distance.
'This is insane!' he exclaimed, absent-mindedly wondering if Calain was still in the dormitory. 'I can't be seeing, or hearing this. Am I still dreaming? What is this?'