Tyna's caravan travels through Cygna, the land of witches, which she now knows are called 'Talents.'
~ * ~Everywhere she had traveled the business of daily life had blurred her sense of the many active minds surrounding her. In Cygna, there existed a unique quiet. Even the ungifted contained their mental spread except at close range, and then random thoughts were often pushed, unwanted, into her awareness. She knew the nulls emptied their minds, concentrated on a physical task whenever a Talent appeared. It kept their surface thoughts in check. She supposed the trick a thing compelled until habit formed.
The strange stillness allowed her tension-heightened awareness to sense the tendrils of ‘Talent’ hovering around her. It took little effort to identify the source or to notice the emblems sewn on their sleeve, or how vastly different those few were treated. She watched how they seemed to share hidden communication, moving in unison; sometimes their heads swiveled to find another of their kind in an otherwise unnoticeable approach. Occasionally, a Talent looked over her goods, dismissing her with a single aloof glance. While the Talent’s attitude spooked Jebe, Sussi, and Tam, it only made Tyna feel discounted and unimportant.
She remarked on their behavior to a ‘null’ customer.
“They deserve our respect and veneration for their service and devotion to Cygna,” the woman said, while her skittish eyes surveyed the surrounding area. Seeing no Talents around, she glanced at Tyna before she lowered her voice to add, “Do not touch them or look them in the eye. It is their entry into your soul.”
“I thought they could enter a mind at will.”
“A few can, but it is forbidden without permission. If you touch and bond, though, they cannot help but take your thoughts.”
~ * ~