Connections Jan 2015 - Page 22

this one might lash out without thought of consequences. It was already uncomfortably hot in our joint prison, and my extremities were vibrating with increased energy. If I was forced to expand into steam I wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep enough distance between myself and my fiery companion to prevent the unthinkable. There had to be a way out of here. Keeping half my attention on the angry swirl of flames prowling the circle at ground level, I quested out with my senses, seeking the water I could feel so tantalizingly close by. There! A tumbling, quick-running river, not more than a few feet away. I placed the building: an old hydro-electric power station. Whatever the reason it had been moth-balled, the river that once supplied its power still flowed past undisturbed. I poked at the spells containing us, and a sense of calm spread through me. The magician had made his first mistake. When the bottle shattered, so too had the binding spells that blocked my powers. Oh sure, we were still enclosed in the warded circle, unable to escape. But I was no longer helpless. Failing to recognise his miscalculation he stood there watching, hoping that my fiery friend and I would do what—touch each other? Mate with each other? Did he think he was going to create a new breed of elemental? Queasiness roiled where my stomach would have been had I been in human form. The possibilities were too horrifying, not to mention bizarre, to contemplate. Returning to the matter at hand, I reached out and gathered together a few stray water droplets. Stretching further, outside the building and on the banks of the dark river that bounced and bubbled over a small waterfall nearby, I drew moisture to moisture, forming a puddle on one of the flat slabs of black rock. Spray doused my puddle, aiding its growth, peaty dark water on dark stone. The puddle became a pool, and— The lower parts of me smarted where a tongue of flame had licked upward and almost touched me. I thought as hard as I could at the salamander. He seemed to understand and withdrew, smouldering down as far away from me as possible until the heat in our prison dropped a little. A muffled noise drew my attention back to our jailor, standing with his toes almost touching the outermost