Garden Chamber at Temple of Inala
The walls are open to the garden outside, though it happens to be winter in Babel, so this is not exactly the most desirable of places to be. Shutters provide some shielding from the winds whipping through, and blazing braziers drive away the cold and provide bright, flickering light, while the silhouettes of shaped bushes can be seen outside, limned in the Procession light. Cushions lie strewn about, and columns and statues in alcoves depict idealized Eeee in unlikely poses, carved from white, blue-veined marble.
Envoy has been moved to her new quarters. She's been recovering somewhat, able to speak clearly now, and to move her head around slightly, though not quite as gracefully as would be desired. She can manage with some effort to move her fingers, and even to move an arm now and then, but it's a clumsy motion, and she still pretty much requires someone else's assistance to do something as delicate as feeding herself without dumping everything on the floor in the process.
The momentary silence and solitude is broken, as footsteps sound in the corridor, and then a couple of male bats bred to the Eeee ideal of physical perfection, and seeming twins of each other walk in, pulling with them Wynona. She doesn't look drugged, but she does look to be in horrible spirits, and quite exhausted. They deposit her on a pile of pillows, and as they leave, the red-masked Ghaz-Kutsuk remains by the doorway, bowing low to Envoy.
Envoy first smiles to see Wynona, then frowns when she notices how exhausted she looks. "Wynona?" she says, cautiously. "What have they been doing to you?"
Wynona's eyes are watery. "I … I don't … want … to talk about it." She looks over to Envoy. "You … Are you going to hurt me?"
Three blinks later, Envoy replies, "Wynona, I can't even lift my hand. It's me, Envoy. For real. Not Inala using my body this time. I'm a captive here too."
Wynona turns to look at the red-masked bat by the doorway, who does not meet her gaze in return … and then shakily gets up and walks over to Envoy. "I … I'm sorry, Envoy. I really don't know … what to think for sure anymore. This … this is really … I am so far out of my league here, Envoy!"
"It'll be okay," Envoy says, trying to sound reassuring. "I'm sorry I got you into this … if I did. My memories of what I did while Inala was in control are still a bit scrambled. But for now we'll be left alone I think, so long as we don't use any magic or try to escape." Gesturing with one hand (without lifting it) towards the masked Eeee, sheadds, "This is Ghaz. She'll be attending to us. You can take off your mask in here if you want, Ghaz."
The red-masked bat bows. "My apologies, but it is not 'Ghaz'. It is 'Ghaz-Kutsuk'. Unless … unless you wish to rename me, mistress."
Envoy blinks at this. "A new name would be more appropriate. What do you think, Wynona?"
Wynona nods. "Compared to 'Worth Nothing'? Yes, I agree, wholeheartedly."
The tan bat removes her mask, revealing a reddish, scarred patch going across the bridge of her nose and over her eyebrow, where no fur grows.
Wynona lets out a gasp as she sees this. "Oh! I … You!" She clasps her hands to her mouth. "Oh my goodness."
"What was your name before the … attack?" Envoy asks the Eeee.
"Kyrieta," the scarred bat says. At Wynona's reaction, she puts her mask back on. "High Priestess Gariazadze is my birth-mother. But I have many sisters, by different sires, and I am Yodhinala, so I have no surname."
Envoy smiles. "That is a pretty name. I'd rather call you by that one." To Wynona, she says, "Sorry for the shock, but she was going to be cast into the Den of Darkness if I didn't ask for her."
Wynona blinks, her face registering that she doesn't fully comprehend the implications of Envoy's last statement. Perhaps she just isn't quite as much up on the ways of Inala as Envoy. She was trained in Rephidim, not Babel, after all. "Well," she says at last, "that doesn't sound good." She looks to the bat. "Kyrieta. I like it. May I call you that?"
The tan bat bows low. "If that is your wish, then so be it. I owe you all that I am."
Envoy winces at that last statement, but covers it with a smile quickly enough. "Wynona … I don't know if it's too cold in here for you or not. But we'll be stuck here for a while, so if there is anything you need, you should ask Kyrieta now."
Wynona nods. "Blankets! Lots of them. And … " She draws her wings about herself. "Some real clothes would be nice."
Kyrieta bows again. "With your leave, Mistress Envoy?"
"Of course, Kyrieta, and thank you," Envoy says.
The bat shuffles out of the room, leaving Wynona and Envoy alone there, for the time being … though the sheer openness of the room doesn't seem to contribute that much to true privacy. Wynona turns to Envoy. "What's … happening? I mean … we were on the ship … we got attacked … everyone started feeling giddy … and it just got worse. I tried using a spell, but it was really too late. And then … you fell. You were twitching … bleeding … and then you just stopped dead still. I don't remember what happened right after that, but later … they had me here. They've been fixing me up, trying to get me to stand up straight, talk a certain way, walk a certain way … They're fixing me up to play a role! It's … and … " She shakes her head, lip quivering. "They're mad. All of them."
"Without a doubt," Envoy agrees. "On New Year's Eve, you told me I'd said you reminded me of my little sister. That was Inala, saying you reminded her of Rephath. So, she asked that you be made up to look like the Goddess of Vengeance. I'm really sorry about all of this, Wynona. I should have let them exorcise me when they wanted to. It couldn't have done more damage than I did to myself getting rid of Inala."
Wynona sighs. "Well … this whole thing sounds so … utterly bizarre." She stoops down and starts shuffling cushions around, shivering, and starts piling some of them over Envoy. "Here. For all the honor they want to show you, it looks like they hardly care if you freeze to death."
"Thanks," Envoy smiles. "I think I'm just here until I recover enough to be worth torturing. There is something I need to ask you though, Wynona. How long ago did you receive a crystal talisman?"
Wynona clutches at the crystal pendant dangling around her neck … evidently one of the few personal items they let her keep, for whatever reason. "This? I had it a few weeks before coming to Caroban. You know … I was having some strange dreams about Zakaro, and I thought, maybe I'm just being inspired by all those rumors I heard about the 'Dream Realms' … but when I got to Caroban, I met this Dream Mage. The Dean of Dreams, Yffryn. She's a … ah … a Fnerf, I think. She took it all terribly seriously. She had me take some tests, and borrowed my pendant to examine it for a little while, too."
Envoy frowns. "So, that's how she got it. You haven't had any of the dreams again since meeting her though, have you?"
"Uhm … no, actually, I haven't," Wynona says. "I was rather relieved, really."
"You really were in the Dream Realms, Wynona," Envoy says, looking serious. "You were chosen by Morpheus, because you had the potential to defeat Zakaro. Yffryn has your talisman now and is continuing where you left off, but she's not … not really suited for it. Zakaro is all about power, and I don't think she can resist that as well as you or I could."
Wynona blinks. She reaches for her talisman. "No, you misunderstand. I have it right here. See? Duchess Eve Kurai gave it to me."
"It's a fake," Envoy explains. "Yffryn tried the same thing with another talisman, but was caught out by the owner."
Wynona's ears droop. "Really? But … she seems so nice."
"So do I, but you know the sort of trouble I can get into," the Exile says, smiling to show she's not trying to be too serious.
Wynona tries to suppress a smile, but fails. "All right … all right." She sighs. "Uhm … are you going to be stuck like this?" She gestures toward Envoy's limp limbs.
"I don't think so," Envoy replies, looking thoughtful. "Inala had control over my voluntary muscles, and when I … broke her control … I probably killed that part of my brain. It will have regenerated by now, but the new cells have to relearn how to control things. I have also lost my magic senses though, and may have sustained other psychic injuries that I haven't detected yet."
The white bat looks positively crestfallen at the mention of "lost my magic senses" even more so than Envoy's present lack of mobility. "That's … that's awful!"
Just then, Kyrieta walks back in, her face hidden beneath a tall stack of blankets and cloths. Instead of bowing when she enters, she just sort of bends her knees in something remotely like a clumsy curtsey.
"Welcome back, Kyrieta," Envoy says, sounding cheerful.
Kyrieta responds to the acknowledgement by carrying the pile over, and setting it down nearby, though not terribly neatly, as much of it spills over before she can try to steady it. Wynona is quick to rush to the pile, digging furiously, until she triumphantly holds up some robes. "Aha!" She starts throwing them on. "If one more of those 'Children of Inala' looks at me like that … I'm going to … Rrrrgh!"
Envoy's eyebrows arch upwards, but she refrains from asking for details from Wynona.
When Wynona is finished, she looks like she's thrown on two or three flimsy outfits, and between the whole of them come up with a fairly serviceable but hodge-podge, scavenged arrangement. She then sees about adjusting some of the blankets over Envoy. Kyrieta assists. Envoy does feel less chilly now.
Envoy notices the difference and smiles. "I think I'm regaining my temperature sensitivity," she announces proudly.
Wynona raises her eyebrows. "Okay … that's good. I'd try to put up an air buffer … but I've been warned that if I do the slightest bit of hocus-pocus… " She draws her finger across her neck. "Well, actually, that would probably be kinder than what they'd actually do to me here."
"There are no restrictions against me trying magic yet," Envoy says. "But then, it's pretty moot in my case. Perhaps the Yodhsunala will be able to shed more light on that when she arrives. If one answers the request in the first place, that is."
"My cue," comes a voice from the doorway. The owner of the voice is a black-furred bat with strange white veined patterns curling and streaking across her face, which is shadowed under a puff of faintly bluish-tinged white hair that cascades down her shoulders. She, unlike the bulk of the Yodhinala, looks properly dressed for the weather, in high-collared robes of black and blood red, with trim of bronze-colored chitin, with a clasp in the shape of the rune of the Corpse holding her drape about her shoulders. She strides into the room, without pausing to bow, curtsey, or even ask permission.
"Ah, hello!" Envoy calls cheerily. "I do hope Gariazadze was properly upset by your arrival? And I hope Sunala isn't upset with me for leaving the Sea of Souls earlier?"
The Yodhsunala strides over to Envoy. "Oh, she was furious. Kept letting us know that she was compelled to ask for us. No love lost between you, I see." She sets down a small bag that looks an awful lot like a cliche doctor's bag. When she pops it open, it doesn't look much different, though she's not pulling out a stethoscope or a thermometer. She sits down on a pile of the cushions that Wynona moved aside when she put the blankets on Envoy instead. "So … explain your condition."
"I can't control my muscles below the neck," Envoy explains, "and have lost my sense for magic as well. I do not think there is any physical damage remaining though, at this point, just a bit of neural ignorance."
"Hmm," ponders the Yodhsunala, and she starts drawing out various instruments, poking, prodding and pricking at Envoy. This goes on for a bit, and then the Yodhsunala roughly starts kicking cushions aside, clearing out a bare space of floor, as she digs into her bag again, and starts scribing images of Sunala and runic sigils. It's not a magic circle, per se, but might serve the same purpose.
Envoy angles her head as best she can to watch, never having seen shamanic magic performed before by non-Savanites.
Wynona seems interested, too, and sits down to watch. Kyrieta sits down, too, probably just because it's awkward to be the only one standing.
The ritual goes on for some time, as the Yodhsunala mutters prayers, and moves around small animal bones carefully so as not to disturb the colored sands. Envoy begins to feel a tingle. Maybe her sense of magic isn't wholly dead, but it certainly feels suppressed.
Part of Envoy's mind files away the differences between this and ritual magic as taught by the College.
Approximately an hour or so later, the Yodhsunala continues chanting, taking several bones from her bag, piecing them together into a long rod, and picking up the animal skulls and affixing them to it in a seemingly haphazard fashion, though somehow they all attach fairly securely. She binds it together with a leathery strand, sprinkles some dust on it … then abruptly swings it down on Envoy's head! *WHACK!*
Wynona jerks back in surprise!
Envoy blinks, and says, "Ow," although it didn't feel hard enough to even raise a bruise.
The Yodhsunala gets up, and starts disassembling the wand, putting the pieces back in her bag. "Do not disturb the sand painting for three whole days. If you are not certain of the time, then leave it for four. Envoy is not to be moved from this room, and the longer she remains in this position, close to the painting, the better."
"Staying put isn't a problem for me right now," Envoy says. "After three days, will the diagnostic be ready … or is this a treatment?"
"It is both," the Yodhsunala answers. "If it works, you should begin to have better control over your body. If it does not … then I will learn why not, and you can have your high priestess grovel for me to come again. In fact, even if it does work, please have her come beg for me to come again. It does the spirit good, to see a high priestess of Inala sent on errands to the Temple of Sunala."
Envoy grins, and nods her head. "A small price to pay, I think."
Without any further word, the Yodhsunala strides out of the chamber.
"Well," Wynona says, "that went well."
"She had a better bedside-manner than some Life Mages I've known, I must admit," Envoy says, then looks to Kyrieta. "I may have an errand for you in three days, Kyrieta. Do younow how to find the Mages' Guild House in Babel?"
Kyrieta bows. "If you mean the new one, yes, Mistress Envoy."
"The Yodhsunala may succeed in helping my body recover," the Exile says, "but my mind is another matter. I do not think your mother would begrudge me an examination by a Mind Mage, since she is so concerned with my health, and I'm sure the College would be willing to cover the cost. So, I may send you there to ask for a certain Mage to come and visit me here. Do you have any objections to doing an errand of this sort?"
Kyrieta nods. "I can do that, mistress."
"Oh, good," Envoy says, smiling. "I don't suppose you have any board games in the temple? We should have something to pass the time in here. And maybe some candied crickets, too… "