Is this the Clear? Stone walls, bare floor… kinda looks like an empty dining room…
Elier and Lucky are sitting on their butts, looking dazedly from side to side. Ren is slumped against a wall, palming his head with a grimy hand.
“Gods…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. “The Sytíshí could be anywhere. The next room over, even.”
Erany crouches beside Nyanti. “She’s hurt.”
Gyrax hunkers down next to her. “Her loci and meridians are out of alignment. We need to adjust 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 have performed some healings, but I am not an expert,” Erany says. “What about the rest of you?” The others shake their heads. Nope.
“Keep an eye out for danger,” Gyrax tells them. “Erany. You, Jon, and I will aid Nyanti.”
“Me?” I stammer. “I’m not a healer!”
“You are much more than that.” He gives me a knowing look.
An involuntary scoff bursts from my mouth. “What? Dude, I don’t know what you’re—”
“You broke the Sytíshís’ Black Weave Dream, then wove us all back into being. That’s the only reason we’re still alive—as the day is bright and the night is long.”
“Because I…” pieces of the dream come rushing back. “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—the ability to create and narrate events—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 out your hands. There are powerful loci inside your palms. I’m going to link them to Nyanti’s aura.”
“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 psyche. I’ll do my best to untangle the damage, but there’s a good chance that you will do most of it.”
“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 senses 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 chant.
A moment passes, then an electric jolt shivers my spine. Suddenly, I’m able to see Nyanti’s aura. Her glyphs and designs are snarled together, like a magical version of a mangled body. It’s disturbingly clear that something is wrong. Suddenly, 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.]
[Uh, how do I—] I’m about to ask how you engage in telepathic communication, but then I realize I just did it. [Right. Never mind.]
Gyrax, blazes with luminescence. [Don’t get lost—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.