Is this the Clear? Kinda looks like an empty dining room…
“What…what happened?” Ren slumps against a wall and palms his forehead. “Hard to think…”
“Nyanti.” Gyrax nods at the Witch, lying on the floor a few feet away. Her eyes are rolled back—the whites shine from her sockets in a creepy, sightless stare. “She teleported us into a safe location.”
“You call this safe?” Ren straightens up and looks around. “The Sytíshí could be anywhere. The next room over, even.”
Erany sheathes her rapier and crouches beside Nyanti. “She’s hurt.”
Gyrax studies her intently. “Her loci and meridians are out of alignment. We need to force them back into place, or the pressure will kill her from the inside out.”
“Like a blood clot,” I say. “In a vein or an artery.”
“Exactly.” Gyrax nods. “Only a lot more painful, especially to someone as sensitive as her.”
“I’ve performed some healings, but I’m no expert,” Erany says. “What about the rest of you?” She glances at the others but they shake their heads: No.
“Take care of Lucky and keep an eye out,” Gyrax tells them. “Erany, Jon and I will attend to Nyanti.”
“Me?” I stammer. “I’m not a healer.”
“You are much more than that, Jon.” He gives me a knowing look.
An involuntary scoff bursts from my mouth. “What? What are you—”
“After you broke the Sytíshís’ Black Weave Dream, you wove us back into being. That’s the only reason we’re still alive. You’re a healer, Jon, no two ways about it.”
“Because I plinked some words onto a stolen laptop?” My brow wrinkles in confusion.
“Don’t be reductive.” Gyrax waves his hands over Nyanti’s face, causing the air before it to glow and brighten. “That was Laiddinic power, honed from the stories you wrote as a boy. It was that skill—that ability to create—that saved our lives. Literally, in this instance.”
Literally. “Nice entendre,” I say. “What should I do?”
“What can he do?” Erany’s face twists in puzzlement.
Gyrax beckons me over. “Hold your hands out—there are powerful loci near your palms. I’m going to connect them with Nyanti’s field.”
“All right.” I kneel beside him and hold out my hands. (Feels kinda hokey—like I’m a con-artist faith healer.)
He turns to Erany. “Ready?”
He turns back to me. “We’re going into her mind. I’ll do my best to untangle the damage, but there’s a good chance that you’ll have to do most of it.”
Alarm rises in my chest. “Gyrax, I have zero experience with auras and mind-stuff. What if I—”
“Do your best.”
His palms flare with eye-searing red. Erany’s hands follow suit. He draws her attention with a jerk of his chin. “Open Jon’s as much as you can.”
“Then act in haste, for it won’t be easy—he’s about as fluid as a dried twig.” She closes her eyes and begins to chant.
A moment passes, then I feel an electric jolt race up my spine and envelop my head in a pleasant buzz. Suddenly, I’m able to see Nyanti’s aura. Glyphs and designs snarl together, like a magical version of a mangled body. I can’t help but flinch in reflexive shock—instinctively, I can sense it’s completely wrong.
Erany and Gyrax’s auras expand and brighten, hazing the air with shimmery color. A strong body-high rushes through me.
[Easy, John.] Gyrax’s mouth doesn’t move—he’s speaking into my friggin’ mind. [Stay centered, or you risk insanity and permanent damage.]
Oh nice. Thanks for springing that on me when I have zero time to think it over.
[Uh, how do I—] I’m about to ask how to speak telepathically, but then I realize I just did it. [Right. Never mind.]
Gyrax, blazes with vibrant luminescence. [Don’t get lost in her—keep a tight hold on your sense of self.]
Doesn’t sound hard. I’m pretty sure I know how to—
And then I’m sucked into a mental whirlwind, fighting to remember who I am.