The Unbound Realm: Vol.1, Chapter 20

Is this the Clear?  Bare stone walls, long wide floor, kinda looks like an empty dining room…

“What happened?”  Ren slumps against a wall, palming 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.  “A poor choice of words, Wolven.  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, then says, “Her loci and meridians are out of alignment.  We need to readjust them, 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 a few healings, but I am no expert,” Erany says.  “What about the rest of you?”  She glances at the others but they shake their heads.  Nope.

“Keep an eye out for danger,” 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—”

“You broke the Sytíshís’ Black Weave Dream, then wove us all back into being.  That’s the only reason we’re still alive.  You’re a healer, Jon, as the steel is sure and water is wet.”

“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 above 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 do you want me to do?”

“What can he do?”  Erany’s face twists in puzzlement.  

Gyrax beckons me over.  “Hold your hands out—there are powerful loci inside 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?”

“Aye.”

He turns back to me.  “We’re going to go into her psyche.  I’ll do my best to untangle the damage, but there’s a good chance 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—”

“Do your best.” 

His palms glow with eye-searing red, lighting and flaring with a noisy fshhh.  Erany’s hands follow suit. 

He draws her attention with a jerk of his chin.  “Open Jon’s aura as much as you can.”

“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 murmur-chant under her breath.

A moment passes, then I feel an electric jolt race up my spine.  Suddenly, I’m able to see Nyanti’s aura.  Glyphs and designs snarled together, like a magical version of a mangled body.  I can’t help but flinch in shock—it’s easy to see that something is 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—keep a tight hold of 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.