Hot tears running down her cheeks interrupted her reverie. Martha sniffed but did not try to wipe them away. There was no fresh air here. No wind, no clouds, no kites, just dirt. Ropes around her. Plaster walls behind her. If only she could get out. Feel the wind in her hair again. She sniffed again and let her head droop forward. A drop of water fell on the back of her neck. She did not move to wipe it away. It slid uncomfortably down her back. Martha sighed, and wiped her nose. Why had she believed him when he'd said there was trouble? Why had she agreed to go with him to his house? And why why why had she accepted that drink from him?

Another drop landed on the back of her neck and slid down. Thunder boomed outside. Martha looked up at the ceiling, it was dry. Of course it's dry, she told herself, there are two floors above you. A lightning flash lit the window and seconds later thunder crashed again. A burst of rain rattled the window. Another drop splashed on top of her head. Curious now, Martha arched her back and tried to look at the wall. A new drop was forming above her, just below a crack in the plaster. As she watched, it swelled up fat and fell, landing on her face.

Thunder rumbled again. Martha blinked away the water and stared, a vague thought starting to worm its way into her consciousness. Carefully, clumsily, she pulled her knees up underneath her and, slowly, slowly she turned around. The ropes held her close to the wall. She looked up, the crack was still above her and another drop was forming. She pushed herself up farther so the crack was just at the level of her nose. The drop broke and fell against her lips. She licked it away and pressed her cheek against the plaster. If only she'd been born a Water Mage, she could have called for help through the rain, or Earth and she could have shaken the house down from the foundations! Martha sighed heavily, resting her forehead against the wall and closing her eyes. What's the use? I'll never get out of here. She took a deep breath, scents of rain and wind filling her nose.

Her eyes snapped open. Scents? Gods! Could it be? She looked again at the crack in the wall, then pressed her eye to it. Lightning flashed outside and she could barely see the flash through the wall. Lowering her mouth she pressed her lips to the crack and inhaled deeply... There! Oh blessed gods there! The barest trickle of fresh air! Without thinking she tried to raise her hands to the crack in the wall, and hissed in frustration and pain as the ropes kept her arms down at her sides. Pressing her mouth to the crack again, she tried to summon all her magic. Winds! Gales! Hurricanes! Blow this house down! The wind whistled thinly.

Sitting back on her knees, Martha beat her forehead against the wall in frustration. Gods, she was so weak. He must have put something in the food today. "Why?" she whispered to herself. She crumpled to the floor again.

Martha stared at the wall in front of her listening to the thunder growl low in the distance. A tiny puddle had formed in a depression on the floor. The water rippled every time she breathed. She watched it dully. After a moment she pursed her lips and blew softly at the puddle. Maybe...? She blew again, concentrating. He can't take it all... turn turn turn... Ahh... she breathed as a miniature waterspout formed over the puddle. It spun a moment then collapsed.

Sitting up again, a plan forming in her mind, Martha pushed her tongue into the crack, forcing it in. Open, open, just a... ugh. Turning her head, she spat out plaster and splinters, then turned back and forced her tongue in again. She chewed at the wall until she felt cool air on the very tip of her tongue. Leaning back, she looked at the crack; it was infinitesimally larger but it was enough. Sitting down again she worked up a mouthful of saliva and spat in her hand. Then she scooped up a finger-full of dirt from the floor and mixed it with her spit. She tried not to be distracted by her nails, broken to the quick. With the mud from her palm she carefully marked an X on the wall just below the crack. Leaning forward once more, she pressed her mouth to it and inhaled deeply. Gathering the thin and broken threads of her magic, she breathed out.

A whirlwind began to form outside.